COPENHAGEN: Six people were killed in a rail accident on a bridge linking Denmark’s two main islands yesterday when a train hit debris from an oncoming freight train, officials said.
Police said 16 people sustained injuries but were not in critical condition. The train was heading towards the capital with 131 passengers when it hit what could have been tarpaulin or something else from the freight train on the tracks, said Banedanmark, which maintains and controls rail network traffic.
A preliminary investigation by the Danish Accident Investigation Board showed a trailer had blown off a freight wagon onto the oncoming tracks, a spokesman said. Police said it was too early to say what caused the accident but the train was damaged by goods on the tracks.
“There was a very, very loud bang and then the train stopped,” a witness who had been onboard the train with his daughter told broadcaster TV2.
The accident happened shortly before 7.35 a.m. (0635 GMT), police said in a statement, adding that police and emergency workers were at the scene.
TV footage showed the halted freight train carrying packaging for Danish beer maker Carlsberg (CARLb.CO). A Carlsberg spokesman said a freight train operated by DB Cargo, the logistics arm of the German railway company Deutsche Bahn DBN.UL, carrying goods for Carlsberg between its Fredericia brewery and Copenhagen, had been involved in the accident.
A severe storm made it difficult for emergency services to reach the train which had stopped on the Great Belt fixed link between Zealand and Funen, Denmark’s two major islands.
“This morning’s tragic accident on the Great Belt Bridge with many killed and wounded has shaken us all. Ordinary Danes on their way to work or on the way home from Christmas holidays have had their lives shattered,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in a tweet. —Agencies