Six Passengers Suffer Burn, Knife Wounds in Attack on Swiss Train

27-year-old man armed with knife pours flammable liquid on train, injuring three adults, two teens and 6-year-old; one victim in critical condition. Police say terrorism unlikely motive.

A Swiss police officer stands near workers cleaning a platform after a man attacked a train in the town of Salez, Switzerland, August 13, 2016.
Arnd Wiegmann, Reuters

REUTERS — Six people were injured in an attack aboard a Swiss train on Saturday by a man armed with a knife and flammable fluid, St Gallen cantonal police said. 

Three adults, two teenagers and a child aged six were hurt, according to a police statement. Five were stabbed or burnt. A sixth suffered smoke inhalation as he came to the aid of the others. The assailant, a Swiss citizen, was also injured. 

"According to current information, a 27-year-old Swiss man poured out a flammable liquid. He was also armed with at least one knife. The liquid caught fire," the statement said. 

Authorities did not yet know the motive for the attacks but a crime of passion was one possibility, Bruno Metzger of the St Gallen cantonal police said in an interview with welt.de. 

"A terrorism background still seems very, very far-fetched," Metzger said. 

The assailant was in police custody, he said, but none of those injured — including the assailant — was responsive, so they could not be questioned. 

The police said a criminal inquiry was under way. 

Both a woman and the attacker were in critical condition, according to Swiss broadcaster SRF, citing the St Gallen police. The cantonal police did not respond to a request for further information by email and could not be reached by phone. 

The attack occurred at 2:20 P.M. as the train neared the Salez station on a trip between Buchs and Sennwald in St. Gallen, a canton in the northeast of the Alpine republic, the police statement said. 

It was the first attack of its kind in Switzerland in recent memory. In December 2015, a 33-year-old Swiss man broke into his neighbors' house in Rupperswil and killed four people before setting the house on fire, an incident that shocked the country.