Nearly 30 people injured after ship rams into bridge in Duisburg

Police on Wednesday morning reported that 27 people had sustained injuries when a hotel ship collided with a motorway bridge on the Rhine river near Duisburg the evening prior.

Nearly 30 people injured after ship rams into bridge in Duisburg
Firefighters assisting with evacuation of the ship on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

Four people who were seriously injured in the incident were able to leave their respective hospitals on Wednesday, according to police.

But the accident could have been much worse, investigators say.

129 people were aboard the ship – called the “Swiss Crystal” – when the accident occurred late in the evening on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.

These passengers were mainly nationals from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The ship had been sailing along the Rhine on its way to the Netherlands.

But the ship never made it to its destination. When the crash took place, not only was the bow of the Swiss Crystal damaged, a large-scale operation ensued.

A second passenger ship came to its rescue and helped its 26 crew members and 103 passengers disembark. Meanwhile several ships with firefighters aboard were deployed, emergency medics treated passengers at the scene and the water police were present.

The bridge, which encompasses a section of the A42 motorway in North Rhine-Westphalia, was closed after the accident. But after close inspection, structural engineers expect it will be safe for traffic again from noon on Wednesday.

As for the passengers of the Swiss Crystal, about an hour after the accident a replacement ship organized by the ship’s tour operator Scylla arrived.

“Those affected had the opportunity to continue their journey with the replacement ship,” the company said. Scylla additionally organized further transportation arrangements and hotel accommodation for the passengers on request.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss ship company however could not provide a statement in response to the accident early in the morning on Wednesday.


German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.