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German train driver suspected of faking manhole cover bridge attack

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German train driver suspected of faking manhole cover bridge attack
The damaged windshield of the train. Image: DPA
11:11 CEST+02:00
A regional train driver in North-Rhine Westphalia is suspected of faking an apparent attack using manhole covers near the town of Bad Berleburg.

Two manhole covers were hung from a bridge with a rope, smashing the windscreen of the train as the man was driving.

The initial investigation was into an attempted murder charge, with police believing that someone had hung the heavy, cast-iron manhole covers from the bridge to target train drivers and potentially passengers. 

However, further investigations have revealed traces of the man's DNA on the manhole covers and the ropes that were used to suspend them. 

Police now suspect that the driver is responsible for the incident. The driver denies the charges, saying that he was a victim of an attack. 

At the time of the incident, the driver was alone on the train. Authorities said the train was travelling at a slower speed as the driver was on his way to the start station. 

The bridge from which the manhole covers were hung. Image: DPA

Police arrested the train driver after obtaining a warrant to search his flat but released him on Thursday as he was deemed not to pose a flight risk. 

Just 24 hours before the attack, four manhole covers were stolen from a street in the nearby town of Hilchenbach, just ten kilometres away from Bad Berleburg. Two of the covers were then hung from the bridge, while a third was found on the tracks. 

The man was not seriously injured in the incident, with a spokeswoman for the train operator telling the Süddeutsche Zeitung he had shown symptoms of shock. 

As yet, police have been unable to ascertain a motive for the man's alleged actions, should he indeed have been shown to have faked the incident. 

Police provided no further information to the media, although they said the investigation was ongoing. 

Vocabulary

manhole cover - (der) Gullydeckel 

train driver - (der) Lokführer

railway companies - (die) Eisenbahnverkehrsunternehmen

traces of DNA - DNA-Spuren

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