- historical event: The single worst accident in history on a ski funicular occurred in the famous Austrian ski resort of Kaprun. A funicular train caught fire just as it passed through a tunnel. Trapped in the cabins, 155 people were burned to death.
On this day one of the worst disasters in the history of ski resorts occurred. A funicular which carried 167 people caught fire as it passed through a tunnel in the Austrian ski resort of Kaprun. Out of 155 people killed, 92 were Austrians, 37 Germans, 10 Japanese, 8 Americans, 4 Slovenes, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Briton, and 1 Czech. The accident occurred when the electric heater in the rear of the cabin caught fire, which then spread to the pipes carrying flammable hydraulic braking fluid. The leakage of fluid led to an automatic halt of the funicular inside the tunnel (it was standard safety protocol). Twelve passengers from the rear cabin noticed the fire, smashed the windows and came out at the advice of one of the passengers, who was an experienced firefighter. They went downwards under the fire and exited the tunnel. Most of the other passengers soon passed out from the smoke in the tunnel. After the accident, it was determined that the fire was caused by an electric heater in conductor’s cabin, which was not designed for use in a moving vehicle. The funicular and the tunnel were not used for passenger transport after this accident, but were bypassed by a cable car.