FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Tragic Bus Accident in a Swiss Tunnel - Cause?





deanhills
Really sad to hear of the deaths of children and adults in a bus accident in a Swiss tunnel. I've never been in a tunnel like that, so it completely throws me for a loop. I seem to recall the accident of Lady Diana as well in a French Tunnel. I'd have imagined that traffic usually goes slower in a tunnel and that the chances of an accident would be almost nil.

Here is a link to a BBC News Article, speculating on what the causes could have been.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17391783

Doesn't seem as though any one has an idea yet, although alcohol and illness of the driver have been ruled out so far:
Quote:
Giving the results of an autopsy of the driver, Swiss prosecutor Olivier Elsig said that there were no traces of alcohol in the blood.

He added that there was nothing to support the theory that the driver had been taken ill, AFP reported.

The authorities have also refused to comment on suggestions in Swiss and Belgian media that the coach driver may have been changing a DVD at the time of the crash.

Swiss police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten said CCTV from the tunnel did not confirm the disc theory, which he described as "pure speculation at this stage".

Swiss prosecutor Olivier Elsig said illness and alcohol were not behind the crash

Police earlier said that they did not believe the coach was speeding at the time of the crash.
ocalhoun
Well, just like an airline crash, if the cause isn't immediately obvious, it may take quite an in-depth investigation to find the actual cause.

...Made more difficult by the fact that buses don't have much in the way of black boxes or voice recorders.
IceCreamTruck
deanhills wrote:
I'd have imagined that traffic usually goes slower in a tunnel and that the chances of an accident would be almost nil


I used to live in that part of the world, and there are lots of tunnels. The Alps are full of them, and they are much more dangerous than you think. Have you not seen the huge warning signs when going in to tunnels? There are a number of risk factors that make tunnels very dangerous... here goes:

1. visibility is low, and sometimes it's really dark in tunnels. Sure, most tunnels are lit, but only in recent history have they put those lighting systems on battery backup. If a tunnel loses power then it can become instantly dark, and people have died. Generally the sign at the front of a tunnel tells you to turn on your lights even if you can see already to minimize this risk. If the tunnel is curved, and the speed is high, then the curve can literally hide upcoming danger. Visibility in tunnels can even become bad with your lights on as the air must be circulated or fumes and build up, or smoke, and it doesn't matter how bright your lights are they can work against your visibility and "white" out your vision if the tunnel is not ventilated.

2. Tunnels are most always falling rock zones, or mud slide zones. People die almost every year around tunnels because of their close vicinity to high risk areas where elevation changes quickly. Debris is heavier around tunnels and regular maintenance is needed or most of them would naturally fill themselves back in. Nature is not very fond of tunnels.

3. If there is something in the tunnel and you can't stop, then you hit something, as there is no where to go. A lot of tunnels in the Alps are very narrow. Ultimately one way of keeping the cost of building a tunnel down is to make it only as wide as needed. Thankfully a lot of work has been done investigating the minimum width they should build a tunnel so that minimal adaptation must occur over the life of the tunnel. Modern tunnels usually are three tunnels connected with walkways every few hundred feet... two way traffic, and a third, wider, construction zone. This third zone helps if repairs have to be made to the tunnel and traffic has the option of being directed into the middle to avoid the construction site.

4. Utility crews are constantly working at tunnels. Be it in maintenance or for upgrading the roadway or technology, so be aware that people usually have jobs to work in tunnels, and you can minimize their risk simply by knowing they are LIKELY to be present when entering or exiting a tunnel.

5. Pollution is bad in tunnels. Really bad, and it builds up quick. Air pollution so thick that it cakes the walls, and turns everything brown. Many tunnels around the world caution that walking through them is not advisable. Some people in cities have died from the fumes, and most cities usually have warnings up for the status of pollution in their tunnels. Occasionally you will hear that pollution in a downtown Budapest tunnel has reached toxic levels in the summer, but they just mention on the news, and don't really put up many signs around the tunnel itself. Many people must use it every day, however, and it can be dangerous to have your car break down inside. I have walked through the tunnel before with some friends, and I can see why they talk about the pollution level being a danger. It takes about 30 minutes to walk through the tunnel.

If I think of any more risk factors, but I had to explain some of them, because the risk factors are far from "nil". I don't mean to go overboard here in giving you this heads up, but it sounded to me like you would pick the tunnel as safer than a normal road, and that is a mistake.
deanhills
Wow! Shocked Never realized what all the hazards could be in tunnels in the Alps. Probably the ones we have in the UAE must be dinky toy tunnels in comparison.

Just found an article looking at an investigation that the crash may be due to the design of the tunnel:
Quote:
The Swiss Federal Office for Roads said it was examining whether the angle of the wall increased the severity of the crash. A facility to help disabled vehicles meant it was at a right angle to the tunnel road.

Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/british-boy-among-bus-crash-victims-071152472.html
IceCreamTruck
deanhills wrote:
Wow! Shocked Never realized what all the hazards could be in tunnels in the Alps. Probably the ones we have in the UAE must be dinky toy tunnels in comparison.

Just found an article looking at an investigation that the crash may be due to the design of the tunnel:
Quote:
The Swiss Federal Office for Roads said it was examining whether the angle of the wall increased the severity of the crash. A facility to help disabled vehicles meant it was at a right angle to the tunnel road.

Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/british-boy-among-bus-crash-victims-071152472.html


ugh, right angles in tunnels are scary! I've always noticed that we pass within feet of cement barriers, and pillars, and other such bridge constructions, and people don't think much of it just like they don't think much of the ground below them moving at roughly 500 miles an hour when they are comfortable in an airplane at 50k feet.

I don't sleep much in cars, never have, because I am hyper aware of these things. I can tell when the car passes close by an object because the sound from the car bounces off the object, and comes back. This is what causes the whoosh whoosh whoosh sound as you pass pillars, as they, after all, are not moving or making noise.
Related topics
Why do you all hate God?
R.I.P. Cliff Burton!
Metallica
Ashwarya Rai Dies
What is your greatest FEAR ?
[Philosophy] your dreams and wishes
Should I get a lawyer?
NEW ZODIAC SIGNS!!?????
Swiss building world's longest rail tunnel
Accident insurance claims
London blasts cause chaos on Tube
F. Nietzsche
Punk,skinhead,emo jokes
sms jokes
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Discuss World News

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.