Police: no more missing bodies in Bavarian train crash | News | DW | 10.02.2016
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Police: no more missing bodies in Bavarian train crash

Rescue workers have concluded their search for more bodies from the train collision near Bad Aibling in southern Germany. Ten people died in the crash; preliminary reports suggest "human error" as a possible cause.

Police in Upper Bavaria said on Wednesday that "no one else is missing" at the site of Tuesday's head-on train collision. In total, 10 people were killed, 18 seriously wounded and another 63 suffered more minor injuries in the crash.

"There will be no eleventh body," a spokesperson for Upper Bavaria police said, adding that authorities were reasonably confident that all of the injured would survive. "We can be optimistic."

Investigations into possible causes for the crash are ongoing, although police sources told German media that initial evidence pointed to the possibility of "human error."

Chancellor 'dismayed and saddened'

The two local commuter trains were carrying around 150 passengers when they collided shortly before 7 a.m. local time (0600 UTC) on Tuesday.

Police said commuter numbers could have been much higher, were it not for Bavaria's Fasching version of Carnival celebrations. The crash also coincided with school holidays.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "dismayed and sad" about the crash, also thanking emergency services for their "tireless" work at the scene.

"My sympathy rests above all with the families of those who have lost their lives," Merkel said. "My thoughts are also with the many injured, who are wrestling with the crash's consequences. I wish them as swift and complete a recovery as possible."

At a Tuesday press conference presenting initial findings on the incident, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters that the two trains approached each other head-on on a single-line segment of track. Because they met in a partially wooded area and at a bend on the track, he said, the drivers did not see each other until it was too late.

"It was frightening to see how the two trains drilled into one another - the second train was completely torn apart," Dobrindt, a member of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party, said.

Signalling technology 'very dependable'

Professor Uwe Höft, who publishes the German rail magazine "Privatbahn," told DW that national rail operator Deutsche Bahn uses magnetic, automated signaling technologies that should guard against such collisions, describing it as "a very dependable and reliable old system."

He said any verdict on the crash's possible cause, however, should wait for investigators' findings - including data like switch tower records, calls between trains and dispatchers, and the black boxes.

"This memory module in effect shows any action that the driver has made," Höft said.

Two of the three black boxes were located soon after the crash, Dobrindt had said on Tuesday.

The trains involved in the crash were run by private company Meridian, part of the Transdev group, while the tracks are state-owned Deutsche Bahn's property.

ksb/msh (Reuters, dpa)