• Austria's news in English

Driver in Purgstall train crash 'had no license'

The Local · 27 May 2015, 21:30

Published: 27 May 2015 21:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The man, who was in the car with his entire family, was killed along with his partner and three of their children. Three other children were seriously injured and taken to hospital.

Johann Baumschlager, spokesman for Lower Austrian police, said the man had applied for a driving license in 2008, but it was unclear if he had ever taken the test. “This accident should never have happened,” he said. The man’s partner also didn’t have a driving license, and neither adults should have been behind the wheel, he added.

The Seat Alhambra people-carrier was filled over capacity with the 26-year-old and his 32-year-old partner, along with their six children aged, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 12. It was hit by a train on Friday as it crossed an unmanned level crossing, ignoring a stop sign and driving into the path of an oncoming train.

The vehicle was dragged 90 meters and completely destroyed. Both adults and three of their children (7, 8 and 11) died at the scene and two girls and a boy (aged 4, 5 and 12) were seriously injured and flown to hospital.

Baumschlager said that the five-year-old girl was making a good recovery and had been playing games already. Her younger sister is in a coma but said to be in a stable condition. Their 12-year-old brother is still being treated in St. Pölten but will be relocated to Linz hospital on Friday "to be with his siblings".

Baumschlager said it was unclear why the 26-year-old driver had failed to stop at the level crossing. Volunteers and emergency service staff, as well as locals from Purgstall an der Erlauf are still in shock after the tragic accident, he added. Mayor Christoph Trampler said he had never experienced such a tragedy before.

Story continues below…

Last year in Austria there were 87 accidents at level crossings, 11 of which were fatal. Baumschlager said the most common causes of such accidents were when drivers got distracted by a mobile phone call or noisy children in the vehicle. 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available