A 91-year-old woman has miraculously survived an encounter with a train traveling at 160 kilometers per hour in the northern town of Langwedel. Police said she lay between the tracks and escaped with only minor injuries.
Police said the senior was attempting to cross the tracks with her walker on Friday afternoon when she noticed the oncoming train and threw herself to the ground.
She managed to stay between the tracks until the train had passed, a feat authorities said was "usually impossible" because of the sheer velocity and the risk of clothing getting hooked on the low-lying undercarriage.
The Intercity train was traveling at around 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour), en route to Hanover from Bremen, when the driver heard a thud. He told police the noise was consistent with a collision with an animal, but when he inspected the damage at the next station, in Verden, he found parts of the frame of the woman's walker. The man went into shock and had to be replaced by another driver.
Meanwhile, a train traveling in the other direction reported seeing a body on the tracks and alerted authorities. Emergency responders at the scene were shocked to find the woman with only bruises and other minor injuries.
The 91-year-old told officials that for years she had taken the same shortcut across the tracks - a section not designated for crossing.
Police spokesman Holger Jureczko said it was "pure luck" that the woman had survived the encounter on such a busy railway line. The average person, he said, would only have about two seconds to react after spotting a train traveling as fast as 160 kilometers per hour.
nm/sms (AFP, dpa)