In all 90 people were injured in the accident which happened just before 5pm local time with more than 100 passengers on the train. The engine and the first three wagons were derailed by the force of the collision, and three freight wagons, each carrying 50 tons of heating fuel, burst into flames.
Firefighters prevented the blaze spreading to any of the other 19 wagons and took almost two hours to put it out. In addition to those seriously hurt, another 50 sustained minor injuries, a fire brigade spokesman said. Police said there was no indication yet of what had caused the cause of the crash, which happened near a set of points.
The two train drivers and a 19-year-old woman passenger suffered the most serious injuries.
"There was an explosion and when I looked out the window I saw the wagons glowing red." said local resident Petra Stange, whose witnessed the accident from her flat about 50 yards away.
- Reuters, HanoverReuse content