Thursday, February 11, 2016

The two trains were supposed to pass one another at a station where the track was divided, and a safety system installed on much of Germany's labyrinthine rail network was supposed to automatically brake trains that end up on the same track.

Aerial view of rescue teams at the site where two trains collided head-on near Bad Aibling, Germany. Several people have been killed and dozens were injured. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Crews using helicopters and boats rescued dozens of people from the wreckage of two German commuter trains that crashed head-on Tuesday in an isolated part of Bavaria, killing at least 10 and leaving authorities trying to determine why multiple safety measures failed.

The trains crashed on a stretch of track running between a river and a forest about 40 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Munich. Though the first rescue crews were on the scene in minutes, it took hours for all survivors to be airlifted and shuttled by boat across the river to waiting ambulances.


Nine people were reported dead immediately while a tenth died later in a hospital, police spokesman Stefan Sonntag said. The two train engineers were thought to be among the dead and one person was still missing in the wreckage.


“The missing person is in the part of the train where there’s little hope of finding anyone alive,” Sonntag said. “This is the biggest accident we have had in years in this region.”

Investigators called off their search through the rubble after night fell, but Sonntag said they would resume at first light as they tried to determine why safety measures failed to stop the crash.

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