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

A regional train derailed on Friday in the southern German state of Bavaria, killing at least five people and injuring several more. Here's what we know so far.

The rescue operation got underway on Friday.
The rescue operation got underway on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

What happened?

The train was headed for Munich from the popular holiday resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen when it derailed on Friday at around 12.15pm. It happened in the district of Burgrain in the Loisachauen area.

It’s not clear why the crash happened.

Police on Friday afternoon said that four people had died and dozens were injured. A spokesman said 15 people were taken to hospitals for treatment. 

The death toll climbed to five on Saturday as a further body was recovered from the wreckage, police said.

The accident happened on the last day of school for Bavarian pupils ahead of the Whitsun holidays. There is also a nationwide holiday on Monday June 6th. 

A spokesman for the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district office said it could not be ruled out that there were many school pupils on the train. 

A view of the derailed train in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

A view of the derailed train in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/ADAC Luftrettung | ADAC Luftrettung

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

It happened just two days after Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket launched. There had been worries about overcrowding on regional train services due to the cheap offer. 

READ ALSO: Five dead after German train derails near Bavarian resort

How did emergency services respond?

A massive rescue operation got underway after the crash, with around 500 staff at the scene. 

Emergency services said people were pulled out of windows of the overturned carriages.

Twelve rescue helicopters circled over the area, which lies near the Alps.

Aerial photos show that the double decker train was travelling on a long, single-track curve.

An aerial view shows the derailed train.

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

The section of track is elevated on a railway embankment, and several wagons slid off the embankment. The busy B2 road runs alongside the line. It was closed while the rescue operation was underway. 

Local police spokesman Sonntag said locals had called emergency services to alert them that a train had derailed. 

An American soldier was in one of the cars on the road next to the railway line when it happened. He told the Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt newspaper: “It was terrible,” he said. “Simply terrible. Suddenly the train flipped over.”

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn expressed its “deepest sympathy” to the victims’ families and set up a hotline for relatives.

“No statement can be made about the causes of the accident at this time,” Deutsche Bahn said.

Emergency services at the scene of the derailment.

Emergency services at the scene of the derailment. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Investigations are underway into the cause of the crash. 

Bavarian state premier Minister Söder (CSU) told broadcaster BR24: “We mourn with the relatives. We pray and hope that everyone who is injured will soon recover.”

In a tweet, he also thanked the emergency services at the scene. 

Bavaria’s transport minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) made his way to the scene of the accident, while federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) was also set to travel from Würzburg to the scene.

What else should I know?

Deutsche Bahn closed part of the line between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Munich and put replacement transport in place. Road closures were also in place.

Police said the closures could stay in place into the weekend. 

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.

Meanwhile, the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding regions are set 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 secure the site ahead of the summit were diverted to help in the operation.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, an Alpine ski town known for its beautiful scenery, attracts tourists from across the world as well as being a popular destination for Germans. 

It lies in the Oberbayern region, which borders Austria, and is near Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.

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POLITICS

IN PICTURES: Germany hosts G7 summit with Bavarian twist

G7 leaders are meeting in Bavaria to discuss important issues including Russia's war on Ukraine and the food crisis. The event is known for producing memorable pictures. Here's a look at the best images and tweets so far.

IN PICTURES: Germany hosts G7 summit with Bavarian twist

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The Group of Seven wealthy nations is holding their annual summit in the stunning surroundings of the Bavarian Alps. 

The world leaders are engaged in talks at the Schloss Elmau with a focus on Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy, the global food crisis and rising inflation. 

The G7 gatherings are known known for producing some memorable photos and amusing moments, and this year is no exception. Here’s a look at the best so far. 

When the G7 summit started on Sunday, the southern state of Bavaria became the standout attraction. 

Leaders of the nations involved – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA – were given traditional Bavarian welcomes. 

Spearheaded by Bavarian premier Markus Söder, the leaders were greeted by people clad in Bavarian costumes, such as the dirndl. 

It sparked heated debates on how Germany is portrayed to the rest of the world.  

READ ALSO: Can Scholz create a Merkel-like buzz at the G7 in Bavaria?

Journalist Mathieu von Rohr said on Twitter: “It’s hard to imagine what Söder would have done to Germany’s image in the world as chancellor.”

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, walks past people wearing traditional Bavarian costumes after his arrival at Munich airport on June 26th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, walks past people wearing traditional Bavarian costume after his arrival at Munich airport on June 26th.

The left wing newspaper Taz on Monday led with a front page that included this headline: “Finally, indigenous peoples at the G7 summit”.

READ ALSO: Why Bavaria does politics differently to the rest of Germany

The photo of US President Joe Biden signing his name in the Bavarian guest book to Germany produced lots of good captions. 

Nathan Ma poked fun at Germany’s infamous overly complicated contracts that are hard to get out of.

Commentators in Germany have also been making their views known about the events at the summit. 

German broadcaster BR said in an opinion article that the opening G7 event was “like a Monty Python sketch”.

Writer Max Büch said: “Yes, it’s embarrassing that Joe Biden is being coerced by Markus Söder to sign the guestbook at the airport.”

He added: “But people in traditional costume are not embarrassing per se. Even if taz’s ‘indigenous peoples at the G7 summit’ is meant satirically, the title hits a very true core of the image that the rest of Germany still has of Bavaria.”

The southern German traditions continued with Schuhplattler, a traditional style of folk dance popular in the regions of Bavaria and Tyrol. 

“Bavaria makes up perhaps 10 percent of Germany,” one journalist said in another tweet on the Schuhplattler video. “But 90 percent of people abroad think this is all of us.

Bavarian premier Markus Söder defended the opening ceremony. 

He said on Twitter: “Bavaria is the land of homeland and custom: many thanks to our traditional costume associations, musicians and mountain riflemen for their support in welcoming the G7 heads of state. They present the Free State and our traditions with great pride. It was a great backdrop.”

Like every year, the pictures of G7 leaders joking around and getting up, close and personal have also been commented on.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signals to the other G7 leaders during a photo shoot at Elmau. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler
 
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signals to the other G7 leaders during a photo shoot at Elmau.
 
We’d love to be a fly on the wall for the private conversations being held between the leaders. Here German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks on in amusement at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Elmau on June 26th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Elmau on June 26th.

The lack of women G7 leaders was also commented on. 

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