BERLIN – Around 50 people were injured Tuesday in a collision between a passenger train and a goods train in the western German town of Meerbusch, near Dusseldorf, police said.
The accident occurred at 7:30 pm and, as a Fire Department spokesperson told the local daily Rheinische Post, it set off an explosion.
Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany’s main railroad system, said for its part that the accident was caused by the collision of a regional train of the RE7 line, operated by the National Express railroad company, against a goods train of the DB Cargo railroad carrier service that was stopped on the tracks.
Rescue of the people trapped inside the crashed train is all the more difficult due to the breakage of overhead cables, which are hanging dangerously over the passenger cars, though firefighters say they have managed to get the first passengers out of the train car to safety.
According to estimates of the Meerbusch firefighters, the express train was carrying some 150 passengers.
A large police unit from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been sent to the scene of the accident, as well as emergency services and numerous firefighter squads from the area.
The daily Bild reported that a helicopter was evacuating some of the victims.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is closely following the activity at the site of the wreck and the progress of the rescue operations in Meerbusch, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter.
“We hope that all the injured can be quickly cared for. Thanks for the emergency teams,” the spokesman said.