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2 German trains collided head on, killing at least 9 people

The crash took place on a strip of track wedged between a river and a forest, so emergency rescues had to use helicopters.
The crash took place on a strip of track wedged between a river and a forest, so emergency rescues had to use helicopters.
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

At least nine people were killed and 150 injured when two commuter trains collided head on in southern Germany, according to the Associated Press.

The crash — which happened at 7 am local time — occurred as the trains were rounding a curve south of the town of Bad Aibling, traveling in opposite directions at about 60 miles per hour. Both trains partially derailed.

Here's how Alexander Dobrindt, Germany's transport minister, described the crash, according to the BBC:

It's shocking how the two trains have wedged into each other. One really drilled itself into the second train - the driver's cab of the second train has been entirely shattered. They must have had a head-on collision. The speed limit on the line was about 100 km/hr [62mph] - and the crash site is on a curve so the drivers must have had little visual eye contact, so it is assumed the crash took place without any braking.

The trains were carrying about 150 passengers, according to the Bavarian chief of police, meaning virtually everyone on board was injured or killed. Fifty passengers are seriously injured, the police tweeted.

The death toll would have been even higher, but many people weren't at work due to the holiday. While Shrove Tuesday, the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent, isn't an official German holiday, the two days preceding Lent are celebrated with carnivals and parades, so many people stayed home from work.

Go deeper:

  • The BBC covered events live as they unfolded.
  • After 78 people were killed in a Spanish train derailment in 2013, the Guardian took a look at European rail safety.

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