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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IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich’s Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

Around 700,000 people braved the wet and cold weather to attend the first weekend of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, according to estimates by festival management.

IN PICTURES: First weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest sees around 700,000 visitors

That is significantly less than the around one million visitors seen in 2019, the last time the festival took place as the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

“We want the weather gods to remember what decent Wies’n [Oktoberfest] weather looks like,” festival head and CSU politician Clemens Baumgärtner said, German news agency DPA reported.

Man and woman in lederhosen at Oktoberfest

A man and a woman in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses arrive for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich on September 17, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival opened on Saturday and the first guests were already queuing outside the entrances before sunrise to secure their spot at the front of a beer tent when the site was opened. The first tents closed their doors around noon.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants of the traditional costume parade of the Oktoberfest beer festival arrive on September 18, 2022.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But the Schottenhamel tent (the oldest at the Oktoberfest) spokesperson, Christian Schottenhamel, said the numbers of people visiting the tents this year were similar to that seen in 2019, DPA said.

Oktoberfest costume parade

Participants dressed as fools perform during the festival’s traditional costume parade on September 18, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

He reported that the atmosphere was euphoric, with people just happy to be celebrating Oktoberfest again.

Oktoberfest beer tent visitors

The first visitors arrive and reserve places in a beer tent during the opening of the festival on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

The festival has attracted a mixed audience so far, including families with children and visitors from abroad, such as from the United States and France.

But the spokesperson for the smaller tents, Otto Lindinger, said the audience was getting younger, noting strong demand for meat-free dishes, although the Oktoberfest chicken was said to still be a hit.

Visitors celebrate at Oktoberfest

Visitors jostle for a Maß in a beer tent at the Oktoberfest on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Over on the south side of the festival area, head of the museum tent Yvonne Heckl described the atmosphere in the traditional ‘Oide Wies’n’, or old Oktoberfest, area as “chilled and calm”.

The festival lasts until October 3rd, as German Unity Day falls on the Monday after the last Oktoberfest Sunday.