At least 10 people have been killed and another 81 injured by the head on collision of two commuter trains in the southern German state of Bavaria, which would have been even more tragic if not for a school holiday.
“We have eight dead on the trains”, said police spokesman Juergen Thaimeier, adding that about 100 people had been injured, 55 of them seriously.
Firefighters and emergency doctors work at the site of the train crash.
A much more serious accident happened in 1998: InterCity Express (ICE), a high-speed train from Munich (South) to Hamburg (north), derailed, causing 101 deaths and 88 wounded in Eschede (north).
German police say all survivors of a morning train crash in Bavaria have now been rescued from the wreckage and taken to hospitals for treatment.
Investigators will have to find out why a train that left Holzkirchen travelling east to Rosenheim was on the single track at 06:48, four minutes after it was due to reach its next stop at Kolbermoor, where it would have met the westbound train on a double track. “We thank the emergency services and employees who have provided assistance as quickly”.
A fatal train crash in southern Germany on Tuesday morning was caused by “human error”, anonymous sources close to the investigation told German media on Tuesday.
“We haven’t seen such an accident in this region in a very long time, if ever”, police spokesman Stefan Sonntag said.
The safety system 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, said Dobrindt.
Search continues for one person who is missing hours after the rescue operation near the town of Bad Aibling began. In the meantime, authorities declined to speculate on what caused the crash. “That includes examining the black boxes, looking at what happened on the tracks, speaking with witnesses and signal workers”, said spokeswoman Vera Moosmayer.
At least two carriages from one train were overturned, while the front of the other was crushed.
Video has emerged showing the immediate aftermath following yesterday’s train collision in Bavaria, Germany.
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said safety systems on the stretch had been checked as recently as last week, but Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt suggested a system created to automatically brake trains if they’ve accidentally ended up on the same track didn’t seem to have functioned properly.
The operator of both trains, Bayerische Oberlandbahn, said the company was shaken by the accident and set up phone hotlines for families of the victims.
Water police were helping in the rescue efforts as well, dpa reported, taking injured from the trains across the river to waiting ambulances. Hundreds of police and emergency workers – from Germany and neighboring Austria – scrambled to the crash scene, which is in a hilly, forested region. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured.