Train derailment, five dead: On Friday, one of the worst train accidents in recent years occurred near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The reason is not clear.
This is the fourth train accident in Germany since 2016 that has killed people. All four incidents occurred in Bavaria. But in Bad Aibling 2016, in Aichach 2018 and in Schäftlarn in February 2022, it was about collisions between two trains. It’s different here.
What we know:
On Friday, the regional train RB59458 starts shortly after 12:00 at the train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the direction of Munich. On the last day before the holidays, there are also many students on the train with double-deckers at lunchtime. The train did not reach the next train station in Farchant: at about 12.15 noon the train derailed near the Burgren district. Three wagons slide off the tracks that run adjacent to the B2 federal highway. They turn over, and one of them remains on the surface. According to the media, eyewitnesses speak of smoke – but perhaps it was the dust that rose. In less than an hour, more than 500 rescue workers rescue all passengers from the partially destroyed train and transport them to hospitals.
Four women and a teenager died in the accident. Most recently, the fifth victim, a 13-year-old from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was pulled from under an overturned vehicle on Saturday. Among the dead were two Ukrainian women, aged between 30 and 39. It is said that they fled with their children to Bavaria. In addition, a 51-year-old man from Wiesbaden and a 70-year-old woman from the Munich region died. Police said a 34-year-old woman remained in critical condition. In total, more than 40 people were injured, many of them in serious condition.
Soko “train” was used by the police, sometimes working with about 70 investigators. Also on Tuesday, more than 40 investigators took part in the investigation. An expert from the Federal Bureau of Railway Accident Investigation and an outside expert are also involved. On the other hand, witnesses, including railway employees and passengers, are now being questioned. Several have already been spoken to, said Stefan Sonntag, a press spokesman for Oberbayern Sued Police Headquarters. “Of course everyone on the train is a potential witness.” On the other hand, the ruins are now being examined. This may take weeks or months.
What we don’t know:
to open. The only thing that is clear is that there was no collision between two trains. Instead, the train or wagon jumped off the rails. Experts must now explain why. Apparently, the emphasis is on the rails and the chassis. Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) said that according to local experts, the technical defect was the “most likely cause”. A similar statement was made by Interior Minister Joachim Hermann (CSU). Bayerischer told Rundfunk that the carriages’ hull has been secured, “It is also being considered at present to what extent the individual rails or girders should be secured. In any case, they are being checked and measured precisely at the moment.”
The Munich 2 Prosecutor’s Office has initiated preliminary proceedings against three persons on the initial suspicion of negligent homicide. The accused are employees of Deutsche Bahn. But what exactly they are accused of, and what role they played – none of this was initially known. A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office in Munich II, Andrea Ghraib, confirmed that it was not clear whether railway employees were really complicit in the investigation until the investigation was completed. “As always in such cases, the presumption of innocence applies here until the final completion of the proceedings.”
Possible previous damages:
It’s not entirely clear if there were problems on track beforehand. According to a report published by the newspaper “Die Welt”, the railways were planning renovation work on the road to the accident. Accordingly, from June 25 to July 9 between Oberau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the positioning of the track and the renewal of the railways should be carried out. The newspaper cites a list of about 3,000 planned actions. Between the 5th and 9th of July the bars must be refurbished in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – the list does not show exactly where. Burgreen, which was the scene of the accident, is a suburb. Deutsche Bahn has not commented due to ongoing investigations. – d b a