Slovak bus accident kills 12

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A collision between a tourist coach and a train at a level-crossing near Brezno, central Slovakia, has left at least 12 people dead and 20 injured. The accident happened at about 09:00 local time (08:00 UTC) on Saturday morning, when a coach from the western Slovakian town of Bánovce nad Bebravou carrying 36 people to the ski resort of Polomka Bucnik, was struck by a train traveling at full speed at a crossing.

The train, only two cars long, was reported to have derailed, but passengers on it suffered only minor injuries. BBC News reports that there were no rail barriers to stop vehicles, only lights at the crossing.

"All the dead and injured were on the bus. There were only a few passengers on the train and they didn't suffer any serious injuries," said Slovak Railways spokesperson Martina Pavlikova.

Two of the most seriously injured casualties, with spinal injuries, were airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Banská Bystrica, while others were treated locally in Brezno. At least six people remain in serious or critical condition.