German trains in fatal, head-on collision

BAD AIBLING, Germany -- Two trains crashed head-on in southern Germany early Tuesday, leaving at least nine people dead and dozens more seriously injured.

It took more than three hours for emergency services to reach all the survivors trapped in the twisted wreckage.

Police spokesman Stefan Sonntag told The Associated Press the two regional trains crashed near Bad Aibling, between Rosenheim and Holzkirchen in Bavaria, before 7 a.m. and that several train cars overturned. Sonntag said 150 people were injured in the crash, including 50 severely.

German police said the death toll rose to nine, but federal police spokesman Rainer Scharf told The Associated Press at the scene of the accident that the ninth body was still being removed from the train.

All survivors had been taken to safety and investigators were beginning to look through the wreckage.

TV footage showed emergency helicopters and ambulances lined up earlier in an area near the crash scene waiting to transport the most severely injured to hospitals.

"This is the biggest accident we have had in years in this region and we have many emergency doctors, ambulances and helicopters on the scene," Sonntag said.

Sonntag said several rescue helicopters from Austria were also involved.

A spokesman for German federal police in Bavaria, Matthias Knott, said that the region was very inaccessible and making rescue efforts more difficult. The crash took place near the river Mangfall in a densely wooded and hilly region.

Water police were helping in the rescue efforts as well, dpa reported, taking injured from the trains across the river to waiting ambulances. The injured were taking to hospitals all over southern Bavaria.

Dpa quoted Bernd Rosenbusch, the head of the Bayerische Oberlandbahn, which runs the trains, as saying, "this is a huge shock - we are doing everything to help the passengers, relatives and employees."

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