Five dead after German train derails near Bavarian resort

At least five people were killed and several others injured after a train derailed near a Bavarian Alpine resort in southern Germany near the Austrian border on Friday, police said.

Five dead after German train derails near Bavarian resort
Emergency services at the scene of the train crash in Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt | Josef Hornsteiner

It happened in the district of Burgrain near the popular holiday resort area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the state of Bavaria near the Austrian border at around 12.15pm on Friday. 

The regional train was travelling from Garmisch-Partenkirchen towards Munich at the time. 

Police said later on Friday that four people were confirmed to have died in the incident and added that a large rescue operation was underway. The death toll climbed to five on Saturday as a further body was recovered from the wreckage.

Several people are injured. 

READ ALSO: What we know so far about the German train crash in Bavaria

 Carriages of the red-coloured regional train were seen lying on their sides on a grassy area next to a highway.

Rescuers were standing on the top facing side of the carriages, using ladders to climb into the wagons to reach trapped passengers.

“People are being pulled through the windows,” the police spokesman said earlier on Friday.

An aerial view shows the derailed train.

An aerial view shows the derailed train. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/ADAC Luftrettung

Police said about 30 people were injured, with about half of them in hospital receiving treatment.

The accident came as rail officials were nervously watching if a new €9 monthly public transport ticket valid across Germany would lead to overcrowded regional trains over the bank holiday weekend.

Stefan Sonntag of Upper Bavaria’s police force said the regional train was “very crowded and many people were using it, hence the high number of injured”.

School holidays were also starting from Saturday in the two southern German regions Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, raising fears children may count among the train passengers. But Sonntag said he did not have information on that.

A spokesman for the federal police said that three carriages had overturned. It’s unclear what caused the train to derail.

Firefighters, emergency paramedics and police were on the scene on Friday afternoon as part of the rescue mission.

Several injured people were being taken to hospitals. According to a spokesman for the ADAC air rescue service, six rescue helicopters were deployed, three of them from the ADAC, and three from Austria’s Tyrol region.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) closed the line between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberau. Replacement transport will be available, DB said.

The scene of the crash near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday.

The scene of the crash near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt | Josef Hornsteiner

Popular mountain resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding regions are gearing up to host the G7 summit of world leaders later this month.

From June 26-28th, the heads of state and government including US President Joe Biden are due to meet at Schloss Elmau – about 11 kilometres from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Police and soldiers who had been deployed to prepare and secure the site ahead of the summit have now also been diverted to help in the operation.

Germany’s deadliest rail accident happened in 1998 when a high-speed train operated by state-owned Deutsche Bahn derailed in Eschede in Lower Saxony, killing 101 people.

The most recent fatal crash took place on February 14th, 2022, when 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 western city of Duesseldorf injured 41 people.

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Austria army rescues snowbound German students

Austrian troops airlifted a group of German students stranded at a snowbound ski resort on Friday, as emergency services scrambled to clear record snowfall across large parts of the country.

Austria army rescues snowbound German students
Emergency workers clear heavy snowfall on Friday. Photo: DPA
The army said it used two helicopters to transport the group of 66 pupils and teachers from the central ski station of Kasberg in Gruenau. It had been cut off for days due to the heavy snowfall covering much of the west and centre of the country.
The group, from Dortmund in western Germany, arrived there last Saturday, but the station was forced to shut a few days ago due to the risk of avalanches, falling trees and power blackouts.
Austria has been hit by record snowfall for more than a week. Many roads have been impassable because of a lack of the road salt needed to grit them.
A break in the weather enabled soldiers, firefighters, other public employees and volunteers to clear some of the snow on Friday, but more is expected at the weekend.
Some 500 soldiers have been drafted in to clear roads and roofs in the most heavily affected areas, and a further 1,000 soldiers are on standby, the government said.
Much of the country is on its highest avalanche alert level, with seven skiers and snowshoe hikers having died since Saturday and two hikers missing. Most of the victims perished in avalanches but emergency services say two of them died when falling into deep snowdrifts and suffocating.
The women's World Cup downhill and Super G championships, scheduled to be held in St Anton this weekend, have also been called off.
Another resort, Loser, in the central region of Styria, was totally submerged in five metres of snow. 
The bad weather has also affected the south of Germany, where the army has also been called in to help. 
A number of motorists were trapped in their cars overnight on the A8 motorway to the south-east of Munich and 90 flights were grounded at Munich airport on Friday.
A nine-year-old boy was killed on Thursday by a tree that collapsed under the weight of the snow.