Europe

Denmark train crash death toll rises to eight

A member of the Danish emergency services at the scene following a train accident where six passengers died and at least 16 were injured at the Great Belt bridge between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen, 02 January 2019. Image copyright EPA
Image caption One of the freight train's trailers was seen badly damaged by the collision

Eight people are now confirmed dead after Wednesday's train crash in Denmark, making it the country's worst rail accident in decades.

Police added two to the death toll on Thursday, and there are also more than a dozen injured.

The commuter train is believed to have been hit by a trailer from a passing freight train during a heavy storm.

Both trains were crossing the Great Belt Bridge at the time, which connects Denmark's two biggest islands.

Five women and three men were killed, all adults, police said, a number matching the eight people reported missing by their relatives yesterday.

Police said they were close to identifying four of the deceased, but that DNA and dental record testing would have to be carried out on some bodies due to the extent of their injuries.

Investigators said they were also sure there no further fatalities to come.

Initially, the rail network operator said some sort of "debris" had hit the train. But Danish media now report that the suspected cause is a truck trailer which moved from its resting place on a freight car during high winds.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption One freight car is seen vacant in this photo, with reports suggesting its contents may have fallen off in high winds

Police have yet to make any formal announcement about the cause.

The accident happened at about 07:35 local time (06:35 GMT) on Wednesday, on the commuter train from Odense to the capital, Copenhagen.

Passenger Jim Nielson told CNN he was on his way to the airport after the Christmas holiday, travelling on the train's second coach.

"There was a cargo train coming from Zealand, the opposite direction. It was shaking due to the strong wind," he said.

"One of the containers was blown off the cargo train into the rails, because of the wind. Our driver tried to stop the train, pulling the brake. But the train continued to drive a bit, and crashed into the container blown off from the cargo," he said.

There were 131 passengers and three crew members on board at the time of the accident.

The Great Belt Bridge is an important link in Denmark's transport network, linking the island of Zealand, where the capital city lies, with Funen to the west.

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