NewsThe signal was red

The signal was red

In the Munich S-Bahn accident, a train driver is considered the suspect

The cause of the S-Bahn accident in Schäftlarn south of Munich last Monday seems to be certain: According to this, the signal on the track in the direction of Munich showed red, so it had been run over. Steffen Küpper, head of the traffic police, said in a press conference on Thursday. However, he emphasized that this was the “current status of the investigation”. About the overall course of the accident “no valid results” are available.

According to Anne Leiding, press spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, the train driver is listed as a suspect. The 54-year-old is still in the hospital with serious injuries, as is the colleague who drove the other train.

The accused has hired a lawyer and is currently not making any statements. His home was searched and his cell phone was confiscated. Both drivers had no alcohol in their blood. However, the spokeswoman does not yet want to make a clear statement as to whether it was a matter of human or technical error.

Last Monday, two S-Bahn trains collided on the S7 route in Schäftlarn. A 24-year-old passenger was killed, there were six seriously injured, and a total of 18 people had to be hospitalized. There were 95 people on the two trains. The scene of the accident is 20 kilometers southwest of Munich, the S-Bahn line is single track there.

According to the police, the engine driver stopped regularly at Ebenhausen station. On the onward journey, a stop signal was probably passed. The 21-year-old driver of the other S-Bahn was sent a stop signal because of the unplanned oncoming train, as was the 54-year-old. Both trains were braked quickly. In the end it was no longer enough, one train ran into the other; the trains became wedged.

The investigations are ongoing, the police have formed an eight-strong “S-Bahn” group. According to Leiding, the amount of data that has to be viewed in the accident is “as large as in a plane crash”. Regarding the question of the possible penalty for someone who caused the accident, the spokeswoman emphasized that “human error” is not an intentional crime. Negligent homicide and negligent bodily harm, on the other hand, are conceivable.

The investigations at the scene of the accident have been completed. The Stuttgart appraiser Martin Will was already there – a nationally recognized expert in this area, who had also been active in the Bad Aibling train accident. The scene of the accident has now been cleared, and the complicated salvage of the trains is now beginning. According to Andreas Frank from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), large cranes and a recovery train from Deutsche Bahn are used.

Discussion about security

In Bavaria, the accident has sparked a discussion about single-track routes and their dangers. A third of the network of the 50-year-old Munich S-Bahn is single track. It is operated by Deutsche Bahn. Many other routes in Bavaria are also single track. Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) demands that a two-track expansion must now be “urgently examined”. According to Bavaria’s Transport Minister Kerstin Schreyer (CSU), single-track routes are no more dangerous than double-track routes.

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