At least 10 people have been dead and scores were injured in Germany train crash on Tuesday morning.
The two passenger trains smashed into each other at high speed in isolated countryside in southern Bavaria. The accident happened shortly before 7am near the spa town of Bad Aibling. It is believed that the drivers probably did not see each other until the last minute because the crash occurred at a curve.
Rescue workers were still searching for one missing person in the mangled wreckage. The volunteers said there was now little hope of finding the victim alive. About 20 of those injured were in critical condition.
Hundreds of firefighters, emergency workers and police officers were deployed in the rescue operation. The ambulances could not reach the crash site because it was heavily wooded. Thus, the helicopters airlifted the injured and dead to nearby hospitals.
The operator of the two commuters, Bayerische Oberlandbahn, said on its website that the trains both partially derailed and are wedged into each other. The operator have activated phone hotline for families seeking information.
The local authorities have initiated investigation into the tragic incident. Two of the trains’ data recorders have been recovered, while investigators are still looking for a third. The recovered black boxes are being analyzed. It was estimated that the trains had been traveling about 100 kph at the time of impact.
Germany’s railway network was equipped with an automatic braking system that would stop trains from running on a track where they were not supposed to be. The safety system was implemented across the country’s railways after a 2011 crash in eastern Germany.
According to sources, a signaling station worker had manually deactivated the automatic signaling system to let the first train go past. The second train then forged ahead on the same track in the opposite direction.
Tuesday’s train crash is Germany’s first fatal train accident since April 2012. Barely four years ago, two regional trains collided in the western city of Offenbach, which killed three and 13 injured. IMAGE/AP