Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Norway: Update--3 Swiss Retirees Killed, 13 Passengers Rushed to Hospital, Some Critically

According to http://www.newsinenglish.no, a tour bus carrying sixteen Swiss retirees on holiday in the Nordic countries ran off the road and crashed into the side of a mountain on the E6 highway at Namsskogan in the county of Nord-Trøndelag on Tuesday (July 29).

Three were later confirmed dead and 13 passengers were rushed to hospital, some of them suffering serious injuries.

“Witnesses who called in the accident reported that windows in the bus were shattered and that people had been ejected from the bus,” Jan Birger Jacobsen of the Nord-Trøndelag Police District told NRK. 

Some of the witnesses had heartbreaking stories to tell: “He was screaming that he knew he was going to die,” said truck driver Johannes Rekonius, one of the first who arrived on the scene and found a man pinned under the bus. “I held his hand, trying to reassure him that help was on the way. He gripped tighter and tighter but suddenly let go. He died then and there.”

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the hospital in Namsos was in crisis mode to deal with the fatal accident. “The number of injured expected was higher than the hospital is normally prepared to handle, so we rang the catastrophe alarm,” Trond Skillingstad, information chief at Sykehuset Namsos, told NRK.
By 1700 hours, eight of the injured had been airlifted to the hospital by helicopter and five by ambulance. One of the most seriously injured was later flown on to St Olavs Hospital in Trondheim for more specialized treatment.

Paul Georg Skogen of the local public health administration Helse Nord-Trøndelag reported that the hospital in Namsos started mobilizing as soon as the first report of the accident arrived, and sufficient medical personnel were in place. “We have several operating rooms available and our intensive care capacity is good,” Skogen told NRK.

COMMENT: The Eurobus, from a Swiss company based in Windisch, was reportedly driving south on the E6 highway when it careened off the road and crashed into a mountainside. Police received the first emergency calls in the early afternoon and patrol cars, ambulances from Namskogan, Grong, Snåsa, Namsos and Grane, a rescue helicopter and Sea King hospital from Ørland were sent to the scene of the crash, six kilometers north of Trones in Namsskogan township.

Brekkvassmo also reported skid marks on newly paved asphalt on the road. “Witnesses told me that the bus was driving in a zig-zag pattern just before the accident,” she told NRK. “It seems like the bus was already off the asphalt before it crashed.” One couple driving behind the bus suspected the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

NRK reported that the bus tour, billed as a “Dream Trip to the North Cape and Lofoten,” had begun in Switzerland with a drive to Travemünde in Germany.

Survivors and family members can call a special number at the hospital in Namsos to receive help and information: (+47) 74 21 56 04.