Police shoot hostage-taker dead to end drama on Swiss regional train

Bern, Switzerland, Feb 9, (dpa/GNA) – Armed with a knife and an axe, a man held 14 passengers and the train driver on a regional train in Switzerland hostage for nearly four hours on Thursday evening, before being shot dead by police.

After a police operation around 10:15 pm (2115 GMT), the passengers were able to leave the train unharmed, attorney general Eric Kaltenrieder said at a press conference.

The suspect was a 32-year-old asylum seeker of Iranian nationality. The motive was still unclear.

Passengers had alerted the police from the train, which had come to a standstill at the Essert-sous-Champvent stop, about 65 kilometres west of Bern. Police said the train doors were locked. More than 60 officers surrounded the train during the ordeal.

An interpreter was called in to negotiate with the hostage-taker – partly via WhatsApp. The police did not say what the man wanted.

The emergency services finally seized an opportunity to intervene when the perpetrator, briefly moved away from the hostages. Explosives were used to distract him. The man then charged at a police officer with an axe. The officer shot and killed the attacker.