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'Nine dead, two missing' in German train crash

Update: February, 09/2016 - 19:48

BERLIN — The death toll from Tuesday's head-on collision between two commuter trains in southern Germany has risen to nine, with two people still missing, police said.

"We now have nine dead," said police spokesman Juergen Thalmeier, adding that there are "two missing people, who are very likely still in the wreckage".

An investigation has been launched after two trains crashed into each other on a single railway track in the German region of Bavaria.

The passenger trains collided near Bad Aibling, around 40 miles southeast of Munich, at 6.48am local time, causing several wagons to overturn.

German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said the trains were travelling around a curve, both at an estimated speed of around 100kmph (62mph), adding "We expect that both drivers did not have sight contact previously and, therefore, collided without being able to brake or slow down."

Rescue workers from Germany and neighbouring Austria pulled around 500 people from the wreckage.

Nine people have been confirmed dead and two people are still missing.

Around 100 people were injured - including 15 very seriously hurt and 40 seriously hurt.

At Least Nine Dead In German Train Collision 

The trains both partially derailed and were wedged into each other.

Rescue attempts were hampered by the hilly terrain, described as "very inaccessible" by a German Federal Police spokesman.

Meanwhile, an investigation has begun into what caused the crash but experts said the key may lie in the fact that the trains were on a single railway track.

Nigel Harris, managing editor of Rail Magazine, told Sky News: "Experience very sadly tells us that, in these circumstances, more often than not, one of the drivers might have passed a red signal.

"Once that signal has been missed...there is a horrible danger of something coming the other way.

"But, looking at the damage, it's highly likely that both drivers are among the dead, so your key witnesses are also missing."

Mr Dobrindt told a news conference that two of the three blackboxes on the trains had been found.

Numerous commuters are likely to be among the victims but, because of a holiday, few students are expected to be on the trains.

Bernd Rosenbusch, the head of the Bayerische Oberlandbahn, which runs the trains, described the crash as "a huge shock", adding: "We are doing everything to help the passengers, relatives and employees."

Germany's deadliest post-war train crash happened in 1998, when a high-speed ICE train between Munich and Hamburg derailed at the northern town of Eschede, killing 101 people and injuring 88.

Bruce Williamson of Rail Future told Sky News that, despite the crash, trains still had an enviable safety record, adding: "I would travel on a German train tomorrow.

"We (also) have a spectacularly safe railway (in Britain) and we're just coming up to the eighth anniversary of the last passenger to be killed on Britain's railways and that's an all-time record." — AFP


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