Monday January 21, 2013
Commuter trains collide head-on in Vienna (Updated)
VIENNA: Two packed commuter trains collided head-on in the morning rush-hour in Vienna on Monday, leaving several dozen people injured including five in serious condition, the emergency services said.
In a large rescue operation involving around 25 fire engines as well as helicopter ambulances and a special accident train, many of the injured had to be extracted from the wreckage using special cranes.
"Two of the seriously injured are in a life-threatening condition, one of whom is one of the train drivers," emergency services spokesman Ronald Packert told AFP. "In total 41 people were hurt."
"One good thing was that the crash happened right next to an emergency services station, meaning that our people were there in seconds," he said.
One of those seriously injured had to be cut out of the twisted wreckage after being trapped, Packert said.
Austrian Railways said the cause of the crash appeared to have been a technical fault that caused both trains to be travelling towards each other along the same track.
"There was a technical problem," company spokeswoman Sarah Nettel told AFP. "One of the trains received a signal to proceed that it shouldn't have."
It took almost two hours to evacuate both trains, which smashed into each other at 8:45am (0745 GMT) in the Penzing district of western Vienna.
Last September a train derailed in the same area, without causing any injuries. An enquiry blamed human error for the incident after a rail worker switched a point the wrong way.