Hostage situation on Swiss train: 4-hour stand off ends when suspect shot dead

Hostage situation on Swiss train: 4-hour stand off ends when suspect shot dead

Swiss police confirmed that a major incident took place on the evening of February 8, after a man wielding an axe took several passengers hostage on a train travelling to Yverdon-les-Bains. The emergency services shot and killed the perpetrator after they stormed the carriage, and all hostages are now safe.

Major incident as man takes hostages on Swiss train

A spokesperson for the police in Canton Vaud, Jean-Christophe Sauterel, told reporters that the incident occurred on a public transport service from Sainte-Croix to Yverdon-les-Bains between 6pm and 10.30pm. The incident began as the train pulled into Essert-sous-Champvent, when a man wielding an axe and knife started to take hostages.

The hostage taker forced the train driver to join the 14 passengers taken hostage and then locked the carriage doors. The man in question is yet to be identified by the police but was said to be speaking a mixture of English and Farsi. Police were informed about the suspect by someone on the train.

At 6.35pm, police cordoned off the train and contacted the hostage taker via mobile phone, using a Farsi translator to begin negotiations. "At this stage of the investigation, the motives of the perpetrator are not known," Sauterel noted.

Hostage situation ends after Swiss police storm carriage

Four hours later, police seized their chance to storm the carriage at 10.15pm, after the man became distracted and moved away from the hostages. The suspect is then alleged to have charged at one of the officers with an axe. The officer shot the man and he died on the scene.

At the time of writing, police could not confirm why the man chose to take hostages, nor do they have any information about the man’s mental state. Sauterel concluded that a thorough investigation will now begin. While all hostages were freed unharmed, they will now be cared for by a psychological support unit, before being questioned by officers.

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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