(Berlin) At least four people died and thirty others were injured Friday in Germany in the derailment of a regional train in the Bavarian Alps, not far from the site where the summit of the G7 leaders will be held at the end of the month.
Updated yesterday at 12:44 p.m.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of “devastating news”, expressing his support for the victims and their loved ones, while the boss of the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, Richard Lutz, said he was “shocked”.
Shortly after leaving the mountain station of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, several carriages of the train to Munich came off the tracks at the municipality of Burgrain.
The violence of the accident left at least 4 dead and 30 injured, so 15 had to be transported to hospitals in the region, said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, who went there. .
A woman, seriously injured, died while being transported to a hospital. The other three dead were trapped under a train car, he added, adding that other bodies could be discovered.
Help was also sent from neighboring Austria and six helicopters mobilized, according to the continuous news channel n-tv.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was due to attend despite thunderstorms and heavy rains in the area.
A local police spokesman, Stefan Sonntag, said on television that the regional train was “very busy and many people used it, hence the high number of injuries”.
Photos published by German media showed the largely derailed train, red carriages with the Deutsche Bahn logo and the Regio inscription lying in a wooded area at the foot of the mountains and along a national road.
Victims were taken care of on the spot by doctors.
Firefighters, equipped with ladders, rescuers and police walked on the wagons to try to reach the injured and evacuate them.
Several local media mentioned the large influx of students returning home before the Pentecost holidays which begin this Friday in Bavaria. But the police spokesman for Upper Bavaria South was unable to confirm or deny these allegations.
The cause of the accident is not known at this stage. But on Bavarian public radio, the regional Minister of Transport, Christian Bernreiter, mentioned a probable “technical problem either on the train or on the tracks” and ruled out any malicious act.
The accident occurred about ten kilometers from the site where the G7 leaders’ summit will be held from June 26 to 28, scheduled for the 5-star complex of Elmau Castle.
This bucolic and mountainous region attracts many tourists each year who enjoy winter sports and summer walks in the Bavarian mountains.
The police and soldiers who had been deployed to prepare and secure the site before the summit were reassigned to participate in the relief operation.
This accident comes two days after the entry into force of a monthly fixed price of 9 euros allowing to take regional trains throughout Germany, an offer which has attracted many Germans and raised fears of overcrowding on trains.
At the launch of this exceptional subscription, the managers of the national company Deutsche Bahn were worried about the tensions on the rail network in full renovation, after years of underinvestment.
“Never before have there been so many construction sites on the German rail network as there are today,” the German rail boss described earlier this week, explaining that this situation, and the increase in traffic, was causing incidents and an unusual frequency of delays.
Germany’s deadliest rail accident occurred in 1998, when a high-speed train derailed in Eschede, Lower Saxony, killing 101 people.
Last February, one person was killed and 14 others injured in a collision between two local trains near Munich, Bavaria.