• Germany's news in English
Human error caused Bavaria train crash: prosecutors
The crash site in Bad Aibling. Photo: DPA

Human error caused Bavaria train crash: prosecutors

The Local · 16 Feb 2016, 15:03

Published: 16 Feb 2016 15:03 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

An investigation has now been opened into the actions of the controller who was in charge of the stretch of track in Bad Aibling south-east of Munich on the day of the fatal crash.

If the controller “had acted according to the rules and according to his duty, the collision would not have happened,” lead prosecutor Wolfgang Giese said in press conference held on Tuesday afternoon.

"There is no evidence of technical problems... Our investigation shows that this was human error with catastrophic consequences," he added.

The case involves suspicion of negligence rather than premeditation and comes with a sentence of up to five years in jail, Giese said.

DON'T MISS: Bavaria train crash: what we know so far

But he cautioned that investigations were still ongoing.

“Were still trying to put all the pieces of a huge puzzle together. Then we’ll explain where we stand and what the situation is for the accused,” Giese explained.

At around 6.50 am on Tuesday February 9th, am two Meridian commuter trains collided head-on into one another on a single-lane stretch of track just outside Bad Aibling.

According to a statement by the transport minister last week, neither train braked, with both travelling at up to 100 km/h.

The two trains bored into one another at high speed, leaving a mangled snarl of wreckage that took rescuers hours to penetrate and recover the dead and wounded.

It left tough questions to be answered about the safety of the German rail network, which is fitted with safety equipment that is supposed to make head-on collisions impossible.

'No grounds for custody'

Unconfirmed media reports suggest that the controller mistakenly allowed both of the trains onto the track at the same time and tried without success to alert the drivers once he had realized his mistake.

The 39-year-old controller has not been arrested, Die Welt reports.

“One shouldn’t assume that there are grounds for putting him in custody,” said the prosecutor, adding that he had been taken to a secure location for his own safety.

Story continues below…

“He’s not doing well,” but he is available at any point to be questioned,” Giese said.

“I can’t talk about the current stage of questioning,” another prosecutor Jürgen Branz said, explaining that the suspect’s account must compared with available evidence.

Prosecutors have found the suspect’s testimony credible, saying “no alcohol or drugs or something like that” were involved, although they said they were still waiting for the results of a blood test.

The investigation has involved 71 witness interviews, all of whom were passengers on the two trains.

SEE ALSO: As it happened: Bavaria train crash

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd