Germany, Bad Aibling: Yesterday, two commuter trains crashed head-on in southern Germany, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100, in one of the country’s deadliest rail accidents in years. Hundreds of rescuers were scouring for more passengers trapped in the mangled wreckage in a wooded area near Bad Aibling, a spa town about 60 kilometres southeast of Munich.
At least two carriages from one train were overturned, while the front of the other was crushed. Blue, yellow and silver metal debris was strewn around the crash site next to a river in the southern state of Bavaria. “We now have nine dead,” said police spokesman Juergen Thalmeier. One person was still missing, likely trapped in the wreckage. Eighteen people were seriously injured and 90 had light injuries, police said in a statement.
The two train drivers and two conductors were among those killed, local broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk reported. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed shock at the news. “I am dismayed and saddened by the serious train accident this morning at Bad Aibling,” Merkel said in a statement. “My sympathy goes out especially to the families of the nine people who have lost their lives”.
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said the rail track was fitted with an automatic braking system aimed at preventing such crashes, and that investigators were proving if there had been “a technical problem or human error”. “One train was jammed into the other and the carriage of the second train was completely torn apart,” he said.
Three black boxes on the trains should help shed light on the accident, he said, adding that two had already been recovered, and the third should be found in the course of the day. The trains collided at high speed, and both drivers probably did not see each other until the last minute because the crash happened on a curve, said Dobrindt.