The train was headed for Munich from the popular holiday resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen when it derailed on Friday at around 12.15pm. It happened in the district of Burgrain in the Loisachauen area.
It’s not clear why the crash happened.
Police on Friday afternoon said that four people had died and dozens were injured. A spokesman said 15 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.
The death toll climbed to five on Saturday as a further body was recovered from the wreckage, police said.
The accident happened on the last day of school for Bavarian pupils ahead of the Whitsun holidays. There is also a nationwide holiday on Monday June 6th.
A spokesman for the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district office said it could not be ruled out that there were many school pupils on the train.
Stefan Sonntag, the press spokesman for Upper Bavaria’s police force, said the regional train was “very crowded and many people were using it, hence the high number of injured”.
It happened just two days after Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket launched. There had been worries about overcrowding on regional train services due to the cheap offer.
How did emergency services respond?
A massive rescue operation got underway after the crash, with around 500 staff at the scene.
Emergency services said people were pulled out of windows of the overturned carriages.
Twelve rescue helicopters circled over the area, which lies near the Alps.
Aerial photos show that the double decker train was travelling on a long, single-track curve.
The section of track is elevated on a railway embankment, and several wagons slid off the embankment. The busy B2 road runs alongside the line. It was closed while the rescue operation was underway.
Local police spokesman Sonntag said locals had called emergency services to alert them that a train had derailed.
An American soldier was in one of the cars on the road next to the railway line when it happened. He told the Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt newspaper: “It was terrible,” he said. “Simply terrible. Suddenly the train flipped over.”
Rail operator Deutsche Bahn expressed its “deepest sympathy” to the victims’ families and set up a hotline for relatives.
“No statement can be made about the causes of the accident at this time,” Deutsche Bahn said.
Investigations are underway into the cause of the crash.
Bavarian state premier Minister Söder (CSU) told broadcaster BR24: “We mourn with the relatives. We pray and hope that everyone who is injured will soon recover.”
In a tweet, he also thanked the emergency services at the scene.
Das #Zugunglück in Burgrain erschüttert und macht tief betroffen. Wir trauern mit den Angehörigen der Opfer und wünschen allen Verletzten rasche Genesung. Gerade die Schüler hatten sich auf die Ferien gefreut. Großen Respekt und Dank allen Rettungskräften für die schnelle Hilfe.
— Markus Söder (@Markus_Soeder) June 3, 2022
Bavaria’s transport minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) made his way to the scene of the accident, while federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) was also set to travel from Würzburg to the scene.
What else should I know?
Deutsche Bahn closed part of the line between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Munich and put replacement transport in place. Road closures were also in place.
Police said the closures could stay in place into the weekend.
Germany’s deadliest rail accident happened in 1998 when a high-speed train operated by state-owned Deutsche Bahn derailed in Eschede in Lower Saxony, killing 101 people.
Meanwhile, the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding regions are set to host the G7 summit of world leaders later this month.
From June 26-28th, the heads of state and government including US President Joe Biden are due to meet at Schloss Elmau – about 11 kilometres from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Police and soldiers who had been deployed to secure the site ahead of the summit were diverted to help in the operation.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, an Alpine ski town known for its beautiful scenery, attracts tourists from across the world as well as being a popular destination for Germans.
It lies in the Oberbayern region, which borders Austria, and is near Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.