Austrian minibus crash - Appeal lodged

Mini bus collisionĀ appeal lodged by Austrian Prosecutor


Austria's Public Prosecutor has formally lodged an appeal against the sentence of 70-year-old mini-bus driver, Johann Prettenthaler, who was found guilty of causing the death of six British holidaymakers and injuring 40 others.

The crash happened on August 10th 2004, in Hallein, near Salzburg, when Mr Prettenthaler attempted to overtake a coach carrying 42 British tourists. The minibus collided with the coach, which then left the road and crashed down an embankment.

Mini bus accident sentence

In March this year Mr Prettenthaler was sentenced to one year imprisonment, suspended for three years, and fined 3,600 Euros. The official judgement has just been released and confirms that the judge found the driver of the minibus to have acted with "gross negligence."

The prosecuting Attorney of State, who at the time criticised the sentence for being too lenient, has now lodged an appeal, which, if successful, will lead to the driver receiving a more severe sentence. If the appeal should fail the sentence will remain unaltered. A date for the Court of Appeal hearing has yet to be announced.

Coach crash lawyers

Solicitor, Clive Garner, a partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, who is acting on behalf of 9 crash claimants, said: "This is a personal tragedy for all the victims and their families.

"Whilst legal arguments relating to this particular accident continue, the number of similar disasters overseas continues to rise and it is up to the travel industry to learn vital lessons for the future.

"More needs to be done to reduce the risks of coach travel abroad, including better regulation of coach operators to include improved training, selection and monitoring of coach drivers and avoidance of high risk routes."

A memorial at the site of the crash is to be officially dedicated on the first anniversary of the accident, at 4.00pm on Wednesday 10th August. The memorial has been organised in conjunction with the Red Cross and all those involved in the crash, including victims' families, survivors and emergency rescue workers, have been invited to attend.

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