Swedish industrial rock band DEATHSTARS narrowly escaped a tragedy early this morning (Saturday, October 25) when the tour bus they were travelling in caught fire in the middle of the Austrian Alps.
The group had just picked up the bus in Graz, Austria, where it was left for repair, and was on its way to a gig in Italy. It was around 8 a.m. when the bus driver became aware that something was not right. "He asked if the back door was closed, so we went and checked it," DEATHSTARS singer Andreas Bergh told the Swedish newspaper Expressen. "It had something to do with the electrical system. All of a sudden he shouted that the bus was on fire.
"It only by a stroke of luck that we got out of the bus in time," the singer added. "We could have died in there."
Between 15 and 16 people were travelling on the bus, and those who were asleep were quickly awoken and told to run out of the vehicle, which had just come out of a tunnel. Within a few minutes, the rear of the bus, where most of the bunks were located, exploded, causing extensive damage to the trailer that was attached to the bus and destroying the musicians' instruments.
"Luckily, some of us were awake" when the incident happened," Bergh said. "Had we been stuck in the tunnel at the time of the explosion, we would have run the risk of everything becoming one big puff of smoke and a truck slamming into the bus. It could have been a disaster."
Ambulances and emergency services were quickly on the accident scene, which was cordoned off. The bandmembers were then taken to an alpine hut near Graz where they were being taken care of by rescue personnel.
"Psychologists and police and nurses are here," Bergh told Expressen. "We are still in shock over the fact that we made it out alive."
He added: "We may cancel the gig in Italy, but we're going to Munich [Germany] late [Saturday] so hopefully it will go well. We plan to continue the tour."
Bergh thinks it will take a while for the band to get over the emotional stress of the accident.
"It was really extremely, extremely close, and it could have been much worse," he said. "Imagine the whole damn bus catching fire while you are sitting inside it, and then it explodes.
"We literally had gotten out with seconds to spare, since the incident happened just outside the tunnel."
Check out photos of the burned out bus at Krone.at.