Germany train collision leaves nine dead, 50 injured

Published on : Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Germany train collisionA head-on collision between two trains in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria killed nine people and seriously injuring 50, police said Tuesday. There were about 150 passengers on board the two trains out of which more than 100 people suffered injuries and two are assumed to be missing.

The fatal accident took place near the spa town of Bad Aibling, about 60 kilometers southeast of the Bavarian capital of Munich at a bend on the Mangfall Valley Railway, a single-track regional rail line between the towns of Rosenheim and Holzkirchen, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said.

“There’s a curve there, so we must assume that the train drivers must not have been able to see each other beforehand,” he told reporters at a news conference.

How the two trains came to be running directly toward each other on the same track is still unclear, authorities say.

It was estimated the trains had been traveling about 100 kph (62 mph) at the moment of impact.

Dobrindt described the crash as “one of the biggest we have had for years.”

The two drivers of the trains appeared to be among the dead, although identification of the victims was still in progress.

More than 600 police and rescue workers, from Germany and neighboring Austria, were rushed to the crash scene.

Helicopters and boats ferried the injured to hospitals and clinics. Authorities said it took about three hours to remove the victims from the scene, which is a hilly, forested region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement Tuesday expressed shock. “My sympathies go out especially to the families of the nine people who lost their lives,” she said.

A safety system of automatic brakes was implemented across the country’s railways after a 2011 crash in the town of Oschersleben, in eastern Germany, in which 10 people were killed. The automatic braking system would stop trains from running on a track where they were not supposed to be.

Both the trains in Tuesday’s crash had both a driver and a driver instructor on board. It would be extremely unlikely for both the driver and driver instructor on a train to miss a red signal, and then for the automatic braking system not to kick in, Christian Schreyer, board chairman for Transdev, told CNN.

Investigators appear to be focusing on human, technical or infrastructure errors as possible causes, rather than other factors such as terrorism, reports CNN.


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