BAD AIBLING, Germany (AP) — Two commuter trains crashed head-on Tuesday morning in southern Germany, killing at least eight people and injuring some 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, and that several wagons overturned. Fifty of those hurt have serious injuries, he 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 traveling to school, but they are currently on holiday, the dpa news agency reported.
The trains crashed in a remote area about 60 kilometers (40 miles) 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. Authorities said they were being taken to hospitals across southern Bavaria.
Hundreds of emergency personnel from Germany and neighboring 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.
Grieshaber reported from Berlin.
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