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21 killed in magnetic train crash

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BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- At least 21 people were killed when a high-speed magnetic levitation train crashed Friday on a test run in northwestern Germany, officials said.

An undetermined number of people were injured when the train collided with a repair wagon accidentally parked on the tracks, said Emsland County spokesman Dieter Sturm.

A total of 29 people, most of them engineers, were on board during the testing of the magnetic levitation train, which can travel up to 280 miles (450 kilometers) per hour.

It crashed into the repair wagon and partially derailed, Sturm said.

Two workers were reportedly on the wagon when it was hit, Sturm said. Their fate was not known.

Heavy smoke and dust hampered the recovery effort, said Sturm, adding that hopes of finding anyone else alive were fading.

The accident occurred about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) outside the station at Lathen in lower Saxony, Sturm said.

The company in charge of the test-run, IABG, said the track line the engineers were traveling on is the world's largest test track for magnetic trains.

High-speed magnetic levitation trains are propelled by electrically charged magnets that allow the train to hover just above the track, eliminating friction.


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A crane lifts rubble after the high-speed magnetic train crash in Germany.

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