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Husband's grief for wife's death; Aftermath of Austrian horror crash.

Byline: TIM ROSS

THE husband of a British woman who died in the devastating Austrian bus crash was grieving in intensive care last night as the couple's three teenage children recovered in a separate hospital.

A reckless mini bus was the cause of the accident in which a coach of British tourists swerved off a mountain road and plummeted 60 metres.

The woman, thought to be in her 40s, was among five Britons killed when the vehicle rolled three times before ending in a mangled heap.

Dozens more were injured in Tuesday's disaster near the town of Hallein, 25km from Salzburg.

Dr Alois Karlbauer, head of one the main hospitals in Salzburg Unfallkrankenhaus, said they had failed to resuscitate the woman.

He said the couple's children would be transferred from the city's other major hospital, the Landeskrankenhaus, today.

A total of 49 people were on board the bus -- 42 Britons, three Germans, two Russians, an Australian tour guide and an Austrian driver when disaster struck.

Horror turned to disbelief as police revealed a mini bus overtook the bus on a blind corner and then shunted it off the road as the driver tried to avoid an oncoming car.

Preliminary findings came from Dr Klaus Aigner, the district police captain in Hallein. Drug and alcohol tests on all three drivers involved proved negative.

Harald Hofmann, from the Federal Police in Salzburg, said the bus, the van and the car had all been confiscated by the Public Prosecutor for investigation.

Emergency services said the five who died were British, but names were not being released until DNA tests had been carried out.

Don Astley, 57, from Bolton, said he and his 16-year-old son Ian were thrown clear as the bus rolled, but wife and mother Glennys remained inside the wreckage and suffered spinal injuries.

Peter Davies, 27. from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was hailed a hero after he crawled through the wreckage and ran to the front of the coach to switch off the ignition as diesel poured into the road.

The tourist group, organised by UK tour operator Inghams, was returning from a salt mine at Berchtesgaden, where Adolf Hitler had his alpine retreat when tragedy struck.

CAPTION(S):

A fire fighter walks away from the wreckage of the fatal coach crash near Salzburg on Tuesday
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2004
Words:383
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