Shortly after leaving the mountain resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, several carriages of the train to Munich, capital of Bavaria, came off the rails at the level of the municipality of Burgrain.
The violence of the accident left 4 dead and 30 injured, so 15 had to be transported to hospitals in the region, said the police of Upper Bavaria South.
The “rescue and evacuation operations are continuing at a steady pace” on the spot, the police had explained a little earlier. Help was also sent from neighboring Austria and six helicopters mobilized, according to the continuous news channel n-tv.
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. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has announced that she will be there.
– Holidays –
Firefighters, equipped with ladders, rescuers and police walked on the wagons to try to reach the injured and evacuate them.
A woman lying on a stretcher was notably evacuated after being extracted from the train through the train windows.
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.
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 under-investment.
“Never before have there been as many construction sites on the German rail network as there are today,” German rail boss Richard Lutz described earlier this week, explaining that this situation, and the increase in traffic, was the cause of 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.
The most recent fatal accident took place on February 14, 2022: one person was killed and 14 others injured in a collision between two local trains near Munich.
In 2017, a collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the city of Düsseldorf (west) left 41 injured.