8 dead, about 100 injured in train collision in Germany
BAD AIBLING, GERMANY
TWO commuter trains collided head-on in southern Germany yesterday, killing at least eight people and injuring around 100 in one of the country's deadliest rail accidents in years.
Hundreds of rescuers, including a number from Austria, raced to pull passengers from the wreckage in a wooded area near Bad Aibling, a spa town about 60km south-east of Munich, reported Agence France-Presse.
Several carriages were overturned.
According to police spokesman Juergen Thaimeier, 55 of the injured were in serious condition.
The Vienna-based oe24 website said it was not known whether the two drivers were among the dead.
The "tragic accident occurred on the single-track route between Rosenheim and Holzkirchen this morning shortly after 7am (local time)", said regional rail company Meridian, a subsidiary of the French group Transdev.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
Rainer Scharf, a police officer from the southern state of Bavaria, said "given the severity of the accident, we believe the two regional trains collided head-on at a low speed".
He added that the priority was to "rescue the many injured".
Situated on the edge of a slope that drops to the Mangfall River, the accident site was very difficult to access, said oe24.
About a dozen helicopters, including four from Austria, were deployed.
"The accident is an enormous shock for us," said Bernd Rosenbusch, who heads the Transdev-owned Bavarian rail company BOB that operates trains on the route.
"We will do everything to help travellers, their relatives and our employees," he added.
Germany's deadliest post-war accident happened in 1998, when a high-speed ICE train linking Munich and Hamburg derailed, killing 101 people and injuring 88 at the northern town of Eschede.