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Dramatic head-on train crash in Germany kills nine [Updated]

"This is the biggest accident we have had in years," a police spokesman said after two trains crashed about 60 kilometres southeast of Munich



BERLIN—Two commuter trains crashed head-on Feb. 9 in southern Germany, killing at least nine people and injuring about 150, police said.

Police spokesman Stefan Sonntag told The Associated Press the two regional trains crashed before 7 a.m. on the single line that runs near Bad Aibling, in Bavaria. Several cars overturned. Fifty of those hurt have serious injuries, Sonntag said. It took hours to reach some of the injured in the wreckage.

The rail line is commonly used by commuters heading to work in Munich, and would normally also carry children travelling to school, but they are currently on holiday, German news agency dpa has reported.

The trains crashed in a remote area about 60 kilometres southeast of Munich in an area with a forest on one side and a river on the other. Rescue crews using helicopters and small boats shuttled injured passengers to the other side of the Mangfall river to waiting ambulances.

Hundreds of emergency personnel from Germany and neighbouring Austria were on the scene looking through the wreckage and aiding in the evacuation of the injured.

“This is the biggest accident we have had in years in this region and we have many emergency doctors, ambulances and helicopters on the scene,” Sonntag said.

The two trains from the so-called Meridian line were both partially derailed and wedged against one another, train operater Bayerische Oberlandbahn said in a statement on its website.

It was not yet clear what caused the crash, police said.

“We’re still in the middle of the rescue operations, it’s too early to talk about possible reasons for the crash now,” federal police spokesman Stefan Brandl said.

Bayerische Oberlandbahn said it had started a hotline for family and friends to check on passengers.

“This is a huge shock – we are doing everything to help the passengers, relatives and employees,” Bernd Rosenbusch, the head of the Bayerische Oberlandbahn, told dpa.

The latest updates on the train crash in Germany that has caused deaths and injuries (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

German police say the death toll from a head-on train crash in the southern state of Bavaria has risen to nine.

Federal police spokesman Rainer Scharf told The Associated Press at the scene of the accident that the ninth body was still being removed from the train.

All survivors have now been taken to safety and investigators are beginning to look through the wreckage.

12:10 p.m.

The city blood donation centre in Munich has put out an urgent call for donors after a train crash near the city in southern Germany took at least eight lives and left 150 injured.

The Munich Blood Donation Service, which delivers blood products to local hospitals, said Tuesday on its website that there was “an acute increased need for life-saving blood products” after the accident near the town of Bad Aibling, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) to the southeast.

It asked donors to come “right now” to the donation centre in the city’s downtown. The donation service is part of the city’s municipal clinic.

12:05 p.m.

German police say all survivors of a morning train crash in Bavaria have now been rescued from the wreckage and taken to hospitals for treatment.

Federal police spokesman Rainer Scharf told The Associated Press from the scene that crews were still trying to remove one body from one of the two trains involved in the head-on collision.

Authorities say at least eight people were killed in the crash and 150 injured; the cause is not yet known.

Scharf says now that all the survivors have been taken to safety, authorities will begin trying to determine what went wrong.

11:10 a.m.

German police say the death toll in the train crash in southern Germany has risen to eight. Police spokesman Stefan Sonntag said 150 people were injured in the Tuesday morning crash, including 50 severely.

The two trains crashed head-on into each other shortly before 7 a.m. on the single line that runs next to the Mangfall river in Bad Aibling, Bavaria.

10:50 a.m.

Injured people are being carried by helicopter and boat from the inaccessible site of a train crash in southern Germany.

Rescue helicopters are carrying people on a rope across the Mangfall river to ambulances waiting on the other side, four hours after the two trains crashed head-on.

German news agency reported that the rail line is used by commuters going to Munich for work. Usually schoolchildren also take the trains, but they are currently on winter vacation.

10:45 a.m.

Federal police spokesman Stefan Brandl says the stretch of line on which the two trains crashed is squeezed between the Mangfall river on one side and a forest on the other, which is making rescue operations very difficult.

He confirmed that four people had died and some 100 were injured, several seriously, but cautioned that the numbers would change. “The current number of dead and injured is a shapshot; this can and will still change.”

Asked about the cause of the crash, Brandl responded, “We’re still in the middle of the rescue operations, it’s too early to talk about possible reasons for the crash now.”

Police called a news conference for noon (1100 GMT).

10:20 a.m.

The operator of the two trains that crashed, Bayerische Oberlandbahn, says on its website that the trains of the so-called Meridian line both partially derailed and are wedged into each other.

Both the trains’ operator and federal police in Bavaria have activated phone hotlines for family and relatives.

The statement did not address the cause of the crash, and officials decline to comment on it.

9:50 a.m.

German news agency dpa reports that four people have died in the head-on train crash in Bavaria.

Dpa, citing a federal police official on the scene, says that about 150 people were injured in the crash Tuesday morning between two regional trains near Bad Aibling, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of Munich.

A spokesman for German Federal Police in Bavaria, Matthias Knott, told the AP that the crash took place “in an inaccessible region” and that rescue personnel were still in the middle of getting passengers out of the trains.

9 a.m.

Police spokesman Stefan Sonntag told The Associated Press that two regional trains crashed head-on on the single track between Rosenheim and Holzkirchen shortly before 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Sonntag said that at least two people had died in the crash, but that the scene of the accident was so confusing that he did not have any specific numbers of injured and dead yet.

“This is the biggest accident we have had in years in this region and we have many emergency doctors, ambulances and helicopters on the scene,” Sonntag said.

He said some people were still stuck inside the wreckage of the train and rescue personnel were trying to free them.

8:55 a.m.

Police say at least two people have died and about 100 have been injured, 10 seriously, in a train crash in southern Germany.

German news agency dpa reported that two regional trains were involved in the crash Tuesday morning near Bad Aibling in Bavaria.

8:45 a.m.

Police say several people have been injured in an early morning train crash in southern Germany.

They say two trains were involved in the crash near Bad Aibling, in Bavaria. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured.

German news agency dpa reported that one train derailed in the crash Tuesday morning, and several wagons overturned.

Dpa reported that eight rescue helicopters were standing on a lawn near the entrance to the town of Bad Aibling and further rescue staff were on the way to the scene of the crash.

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