Man sets Swiss train on fire, attacks passengers with knife

  • 27-year-old Swiss man set a fire inside a train and attacked its passengers
  • The motive of the assailant was not clear
  • Police do not believe the incident was terrorist-related

Tension developed in Salez in northeast Switzerland on Saturday when a defiant man set a fire inside a train and attacked its passengers; leaving seven people injured with stab wounds and burns.

Police authorities said the 27-year old assailant attacked the passengers with a knife.

As per police reports, it was around 2:20pm on Saturday while the train was pulling into Salez in the north east Switzerland, close to the Liechtenstein border in the St Gallen canton, when the man showed aggression.

The suspect had poured flammable liquid in the train which then caught fire, police said.

Police spokesman Bruno Metzger told Associate Press that the assailant poured the liquid on a 34-year-old woman who died on the spot, and it appeared to have caught fire when it came into contact with oxygen.

The passengers — two men, aged 17 and 50; three other women, aged 17, 34 and 43 and a six-year-old child — sustained serious injuries ranging from stab wounds and burns and were immediately taken to the hospital.

The assailant, who also sustained serious injuries, died Sunday morning.

The authorities said the motive of the assailant is not clear. The suspect was not known to the police prior to the attack.

St. Gallen police still have to thoroughly investigate the incident as per their spokesman’s disclosure in a BBC story that they can neither exclude nor affirm that it was indeed a terrorist act.

The police believe that the incident was an isolated case and that the man was acting alone. However, an in-depth probe will be conducted to determine the attacker’s motive.

The attack has paralyzed the transit’s operation. Estimated amount needed for initial repair of the train heavily damaged by the fire would cost 100,000 Swiss francs (£79,000).

Service was shut down on that rail line.