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German trains collide

Passengers spoke of a
Passengers spoke of a "big bang" as the trains collided  

ENZISWEILER, Germany -- Two commuter trains have collided head on in Germany, injuring more than 80 people including school children, police have said.

Emergency services had to cut injured passengers free from the wreckage and German and Swiss helicopters airlifted the most seriously injured to hospital.

The drivers' cabins of both trains were smashed by the impact but neither train became derailed and no fatalities were reported.

Hospital officials said 82 people had been injured, nine of them seriously.

The passenger trains crashed on the single rail line between Lindau and Friedrichshafen, near Lake Constance on the Swiss border, at about 7.30 a.m. (0530 GMT).

It was not immediately known why the two regional Deutsche Bahn trains were on the stretch of track at the same time.

Local prosecutors said it had begun proceedings against one of the drivers after it appeared a train had ignored a stop signal, Reuters reported.

Witnesses said the train bound westward for Friedrichshafen pulled out of a small station near Lindau and had only travelled about 200 metres before it was in a collision with the other.

Felix Kling, 14, who was one of the 150 passengers at the time, told The Associated Press that he saw a faster-moving train coming down the track towards him.

"I got up and ran toward the back," he added.

"But there was little either train driver could do to prevent the crash at that point.

"They could break a little but no one could do more."

Fellow commuter Lydia Gloecklertld Reuters news agency: "There was a big bang and I was thrown from my seat along with many children...Then the door was locked, it was stuck and we could not get out. The children were screaming and were in a panic."

Ingo Jergens, leader of railway supervision in the southern state of Bavaria, said automatic brakes had kicked in to reduce the impact of the trains, but even so, they were partially derailed.

New train safety systems are due to be introduced next year.

In 1998 Deutsche Bahn was involved in Germany's worst train crash when 101 people died after an inter-city express train jumped the tracks at high speed and crashed into a bridge at Eschede in northern Germany.

In June, seven people were killed in two separate train crashes.


• Deutsche Bahn
• Federal Ministry of Transport

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