24 injured in migrant smuggling van crash

A van smuggling migrants through Austria was involved in an accident on the A1 motorway near Amstetten on Friday. More than 30 people were in the back of the van, 24 were injured, three of them seriously.

24 injured in migrant smuggling van crash
The van being hauled off the A1. Photo: FOTOKERSCHI.AT/FEUERWEHR SANKT GEORGEN

It’s believed a tyre blow out may be to blame for the accident, in which the van skidded and hit the centre guide rail, tipping over.

Police said that 32 people had been accounted for but that they believe there are likely to have been more refugees crammed in the back of the van and that some may have run off after the accident, and could also be injured. A spokesman from the fire service said that there were also children in the back of the van.

Police spokesman Johann Baumschlager said that refugees were seen running down the A1 after the crash and that it was lucky motorists were able to stop in time, preventing further accidents and possibly deaths.

Emergency teams, including an air ambulance, were called to the scene of the crash and the A1 was temporarily closed in the direction of Salzburg.

The injured refugees were taken to hospitals in St. Pölten and Amstetten, and others who were in shock were cared for by the Red Cross.

The man who was driving the van ran off before police arrived and they are now searching for him with sniffer dogs and a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera.

On Tuesday another van attempting to smuggle refugees through Austria crashed on the S1 road near Vienna, with 45 people in the back. Several were injured.

Last week a suspicious van which turned out to be smuggling 17 refugees was pursued by a police car in Burgenland and drove into a ditch. Three people were injured.


Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

International business owners in Vienna bring in billions of euros in revenue and taxes each year, according to a recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce.

Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna's economy

New figures show that Vienna’s international entrepreneurs do more than simply boost diversity in Austria’s capital city – they also significantly contribute to the local economy.

The Wirtschaftskammer (Chamber of Commerce) has revealed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs.

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties, reports ORF.

READ MORE: Austrian presidential elections: Why 1.4 million people can’t vote

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, they are also an economic factor.”

Ruck added that more than 200 international companies move to the capital each year and said the diversity is helping Vienna to financially recover from the pandemic. 

The Chamber of Commerce considers a business owner to have a migration background if they were not born in Austria and/or they have a non-Austrian nationality.

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According to ORF, there are 34,000 entrepreneurs in Vienna with a migration background and 7,400 of those business owners have Austrian citizenship.

Additionally, 4,500 business owners have Slovakian nationality, 3,800 are from Romania and 2,600 have German citizenship.

The most popular business sector for people in Vienna with a migration background is retail, followed by real estate and technical services.