A fatal train crash in southern Germany on Tuesday morning was caused by "human error," anonymous sources close to the investigation told German media on Tuesday. Who exactly was responsible for the collision that left 10 people dead and dozens injured remained unknown, authorities said.
As of Tuesday evening, one person was unaccounted for in the wreckage, but police said it was unlikely that they could have survived.
The accident occurred when two commuter trains carrying a total of 150 hit each other head on at 6:48 a.m. local time (0548 UTC) near the town of Bad Aibling in Bavaria.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told a press conference that the two trains had been traveling at full speed on a single track. Due to a curve in the rails in a partially wooded area, the drivers could not see each other before colliding, causing several train cars to jump the tracks.
"It was frightening to see how the two trains drilled into one another - the second train was completely torn apart," Dobrindt said. He and Chancellor Angela Merkel extended their condolences to the families of the 10 who lost their lives.
Sweeping rescue mission
On top of those who died, 18 people were seriously wounded and 63 more had light injuries. A rescue mission of more than 500 people, including the Red Cross, paramedics, firefighters and helicopter pilots were called into action as survivors and bodies had to be carried across the nearby river in order to reach the closest hospital.
Before the confirmation of human error, earlier theories as to the cause of the crash had circled around the system that forces trains to brake when they are on the wrong track in order to circumvent such tragedies. According to rail operator Deutsche Bahn, this computer system was enabled at the time of the crash and had just recently been tested for functionality.
The trains' two black boxes were being investigated to gather more information about the reason for the accident. Deutsche Bahn announced that efforts to remove the wreckage would begin Wednesday, but would due to the severity of the damage it would likely take several days.
es/jil (AFP, AP)