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Train crashes into group of people, killing two near Cologne

May 4, 2023

Police say the victims were part of a group of rail construction engineers, working on the tracks near the western German city of Cologne.

Rescue workers were on the scene after a train crashed into a group of workers near Cologne
Rescue workers were on the scene after a train crashed into a group of workers near CologneImage: Sebastian Klemm/dpa/picture alliance

Two people have been killed in a train crash close to the German city of Cologne, the federal police said on Thursday.

An Intercity (IC) passenger train en route from the northern port city of Emden in Lower Saxony to Koblenz to the south-east of Cologne and Bonn hit a group of rail workers, according to Deutsche Bahn.

The train was travelling at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour at the time of the crash. The two workers killed in the accident died immediately, according to police. 

"Our thoughts are with the deceased, injured and their relatives," a spokesman for the railway said.

Emergency services and police were deployed in large numbers, while a helicopter circled over the accident site. 

What do we know so far?

The incident took place in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. A spokesperson for the local police said the train had been heading from Cologne to the city of Koblenz.

At about 11 a.m. local time (0900 UTC/GMT), the train hit the workers on an open track near the village of Fischenich to the south of Hürth, the police  spokesperson said. 

Fire service rescue teams were treating the injured. A police spokesperson later said that five workers were experiencing shock, although not physically harmed.

The local paper also reported that besides the large contingent of police, 10 ambulances, four emergency doctors and 35 fire brigade personnel were also on the scene.

Railway line reopened

There were about 50 passengers on the train at the time, according to the railway, and they were held on board for several hours after the accident.

The passengers were eventually evacuated from the train on Thursday afternoon and taken onwards by bus.

The railway line was closed between Cologne and Bonn, resulting in cancellations and delays for a number of trains. Some long-distance trains were diverted to the other bank of the Rhine River. 

It reopened on Thursday evening almost seven hours after the accident. A railway spokesman said that traffic would slowly start moving again, but that delays and restrictions were still to be expected during the evening.

dh, ab/sms (dpa, AFP)