Bern: In a dramatic incident, Swiss authorities shot dead a man wielding an axe and a knife while holding 15 people hostage for nearly four hours. The incident occurred in the town of Essert-sous-Champvent on the train line connecting Baulmes and Yverdon-les-Bains in the Swiss canton of Vaud near the French border.
The attacker was identified as a 32-year-old Iranian asylum-seeker after he was killed by police during the incident in western Switzerland. All the 15 hostages were rescued and no passengers suffered any injuries, according to Swiss police.
The man took the hostages on Thursday evening and police, alerted by passengers, sealed off the area while the train was stopped in the town of Essert-sous-Champvert, police in the French-speaking Vaud region said on Friday. The man, speaking Farsi and English, demanded that the train engineer join the 15 hostages.
“The hostages were all released unharmed. The hostage taker was fatally wounded during the intervention,” said police in the Vaud canton said in a statement. Jean-Christophe Sauterel, police spokesperson for the Vaud canton, said there was no indication that the hostage-taking was a terrorist incident.
“It’s an unprecedented event given the number of victims, 15 hostages, and the intervention of 60 police,” Prosecutor General Eric Kaltenrieder told local television.
Hostage situations are rare in Switzerland but have occurred at banks and businesses. In January 2022, employees of a watch-making firm were taken hostage and forced to open a vault containing precious metals.
(with inputs from agencies)