First black box from German crash shows no sign of technical failure

Information obtained from the first of three black boxes out of two commuter trains that collided head on in southern Germany shows no indication of a technical failure, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said Wednesday.

Dobrindt said that the remaining two black boxes would have to be examined to draw conclusions as to the cause of the crash near the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling, which killed 10 people and injured 81 early Tuesday.

Prosecutors and police are trying to determine why an automatic safety system designed to avoid head-on collisions failed to prevent the accident, allowing two commuter trains carrying a total of 150 people to collide at full speed on a single-track line.

Due to a curve in the track and the fact that the area was partially wooded, the drivers had no visibility before the two trains crashed into one another, causing several compartments to derail. Deutsche Bahn said the safety system had been tested as recently as last week.

A source close to the investigation told dpa Wednesday that human error had caused the accident. Police spokesman Juergen Thalmeier said that the officer on duty had been questioned immediately after the accident and that there was "no urgent suspicion" against him.

Prosecutors say they are investigating the possibility of human error, technical failure, or a combination of both.

Police spokesman Andreas Guske said that the search for victims was complete. He said he was "optimistic" that none of the 81 people wounded in the crash - 18 among them seriously - would succumb to their injuries.

Emergency workers were removing the wreckage from the single-track line with the help of a large crane in an operation likely to last for two days. Work at the accident site was halted for the first time late Wednesday overnight and due to resume Thursday morning.

Nine of 10 victims have been identified, Thalmeier said. They are all men aged between 24 and 60, and include two train drivers and a supervising train driver.

Last update: Thu, 11/02/2016 - 17:15
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