A head-on train crash injured dozens of rush-hour commuters in Vienna on Monday morning. Five people were seriously injured with another 36 also hurt in the collision, which is being blamed on a technical mishap although human error has not been ruled out.
The crash came after a switch appeared to have been pulled manually, putting the trains on a head-on course. While no lives were lost in the accident, many of the injured had to be extracted from the mangled wreckage via an overhead crane. The drivers of both trains were in critical condition.
“At the moment there are five people seriously injured and several people with light injuries,” emergency services spokeswoman Claudia Gigler told AFP. “The seriously injured were taken immediately to the hospital.”
Many of the commuters were suffering from shock, but representatives were quick to note paramedics and firemen were on the scene quickly because the crash came just outside an emergency station. It took two hours to evacuate both trains.
“Of course we will investigate the causes for the collision but at the moment our priority is with the passengers,” said Austrian Railways spokeswoman Sarah Nettel.
In September a train derailed in the same Vienna suburb as Monday’s crash, although no injuries were reported at the time.
Last year, on the other side of the world in western Texas, a freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans, killing four people and injuring 17 more. The Union Pacific locomotive blared its horn but wasn’t able to stop in time to avoid crushing the flatbed, which was stuck in the tracks.