Trains collide in Bavaria, two dead | News | DW | 07.05.2018
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Trains collide in Bavaria, two dead

Two people have been killed and multiple passengers injured in a collision between a freight train and a passenger train in the southern German state of Bavaria. Police have arrested the on duty traffic controller.

Two trains crashed into each other just outside the southern German town Aichach late Monday, killing at least two people, police said.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn said a commuter train hit a freight service, which was stationary, on a single stretch of rail between Ingolstadt and Augsburg at around 9.20 p.m. local time (1920 UTC).

Read moreGermany opens inquiry after train collision injures dozens

Some 14 passengers were wounded.

"There are some seriously injured and others only lightly," a Deutsche Bahn spokesman told the German dpa press agency.

The two fatalities have been identified as the 37-year-old driver of the commuter train and a 73-year-old female passenger. Despite the head-on colliision, the driver of the freight train suffered no visible injuries.

The cause of the collision was not immediatelly clear. Neither train appeared to have derailed leading up to it.

Rail traffic controller investigated

Later on Tuesday, authorities arrested the 24-year-old traffic controller on duty during the time of the crash on suspicion of negligence.

The man is suspected of negligent homicide, but the police were not able to determine whether or not he was distracted or made a mistake.

"It's much too soon to say that," police spokesman Markus Trieb told the press.

Officials said they were trying to establish how fast the trains were traveling when they crashed and whether the signal lights were functioning properly. A preliminary check showed no signs of malfunction, authorities said.

Germany's national rail company Deutsche Bahn employs over 12,000 traffic controlers in charge of directing some 40,000 trains every day.

The Aichach incident comes two years after a head-on train crash in near the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling which killed 12. In that case, the rail traffic controller was jailed for three-and-a half-years for negligence leading up to the crash. 

Aichach station shuttered, route suspended

The central station in Aichach remained cordoned off by early Tuesday. However, regional trains crossing Bavaria would still continue to run through the town.

The route between the cities of Ingolstadt and Augsburg near Aichach was also to remain closed until at least Wednesday.

Read more: German high-speed train breaks down on return from Berlin-Munich maiden voyage

Police also said around 15 passengers in the commuter train left the scene after the incident. The officials called on them to contact the police and share their accounts.

A day of train crashes

The incident in Aichach was the second of two serious train crashes the southern German state of Bavaria saw on Monday. Earlier, a train hit a car at a level crossing without barriers in the town Seeshaupt, on Lake Starnberg.

The impact saw the train drag the car for several hundred meters. Both people in the vehicle were seriously injured but survived the accident. A further person on the train was also injured.

Across the border in the Austrian state of Styria, a passenger train collided with a vehicle at a crossing in the early hours of Tuesday. According to initial reports, several people were injured in that incident.

dm, nm/se (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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