60 vehicle pile-up kills one, injures 30 in Austria

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Map showing the route of the Westautobahn (A1) in Austria
Image: Wikimedia Commons User:Newsflash.

A large pile-up on an Austrian motorway has left one woman dead and at least thirty - up to thirty-seven - people injured, five seriously.

Ongoing storms depositing snow and ice across western Europe are believed to have contributed to the extent of today's accident which occurred between Vienna and Salzburg. The pileup involved at least 60 vehicles, and some reports say up to 70. It is thought the direct cause was a coach. Multiple trucks were also involved.

Numerous people required cut free from their mangled vehicles at the site on the A1 autobahn westbound, which is now closed in both directions. The crash was between Seewalchen and St. Georgen, to the north-east of Salzburg. The weather is making it difficult for ambulances and search and rescue helicopters to approach the scene. The deceased was a Spanish woman living in Switzerland.

The same storm has also caused a large number of road accidents in neighbouring Switzerland, which saw 70 centimetres (28 inches) of snow on Sunday with four metre (13ft) drifts. Hundreds of tourists are trapped in the Aeolian Islands near Scicily, Italy after five metre waves prompted a two-day suspension of ferry services and destroyed roofs. In the Netherlands traffic jams reached a total of 836 kilometers (519 miles) long and Amsterdam's Schipol Airport saw delays while snow was shoveled off runways. Macedonia saw one fatality in the storms and Germany has also seen much snowfall.