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Three dead when a train derailed and overturned in Germany

Rescue services try to get the passengers out of the derailed train. / AFP

More than 60 injured in the accident that took place near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

At least three people have died and numerous injuries when a regional train of the German railways Deutsche Bahn derailed this noon, near the town of Garmisch Partenkirchen, in the Alpine region of Upper Bavaria, a spokesman for local authorities reported.

Some 60 people have needed medical attention, 16 of them with serious injuries, after the accident, which occurred around 12:15 local time in a convoy that had left Garmisch in the direction of Munich. The incident occurred at the height of the small town of Burgrain, where three double-decker passenger cars apparently overturned after the train derailed for reasons that are still unknown.

“People have been rescued through the windows of the wagons,” said a police spokesman, who noted that numerous firefighters and ambulance rescuers, also with helicopters, have gone to the accident site. “Maximum alarm has been issued to all rescue forces,” said a spokesman for the region’s emergency coordination.

From the German automobile club ADAC it was reported that half a dozen helicopters, three of them from the club itself dedicated to road rescue and another three arrived from neighboring Austria, immediately came to transport the most seriously injured. Deutsche Bahn also proceeded to close the railway line between Garmisch Partenkirchen and the town of Oberau.

The train was packed with schoolchildren returning home from colleges and schools in Garmisch to nearby towns on the last day of school before the Pentecost Easter holidays, which in Bavaria last two weeks. The train was carrying “people of all ages,” local authorities reported, however.

The first to come to the aid of the wounded were members of a detachment of the Bundeswehr, the federal Army, who are in the area participating in security preparations for the G7 summit to be held at the end of the month. A police spokesman stressed that, within the misfortune, it was fortunate that the incident occurred at a point along the route parallel to a road, which facilitated the arrival and access of firefighters and ambulances to carry out the rescue operation. So much so that shortly afterwards a heavy crane could be placed on the site to hoist and remove the injured wagons from the track.

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