After the serious train accident in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, people are still missing, and salvage is difficult. And above all of this is the big question of why.

Dead, missing, dozens injured: One day after the serious train accident in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the emergency services are still looking for missing people and are struggling with the pitfalls of a difficult rescue. The police spoke on Saturday of a “single-digit number” missing. According to the information, three of the four deaths confirmed so far have not yet been recovered. It can also not be ruled out that there could be other victims under the overturned wagons. According to the police, there were no children among the four confirmed dead. The rescue workers assume 40 injured and three seriously injured. A police spokesman said at the scene of the accident. The day before, there had been talk of around 15 seriously injured people.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Not all missing persons could be recovered

The salvage work was difficult. Two attempts to lift the wagons failed. Lifting bags were also used. The wagons were “twisted and twisted,” said the police spokesman. “That makes the rescue so difficult.” A heavy recovery crane, which can lift up to 120 tons and was expected at the scene of the accident in the morning, should help. “You have to go step by step,” said the spokesman.

“It’s an incredible event,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) on Saturday when he visited the scene of the accident. “We very much hope that there will be no further deaths.” Such an accident is always a shock and a “stab in the heart”. It was a train that was there for many students. “You have to imagine it like this: it’s just before the holidays, there’s a relaxed atmosphere on the train, in one of the most beautiful regions Bavaria has – and then something like that happens and can change your life completely.”

There was initially no new information about the cause of the accident on Saturday. According to the police, the train driver was questioned. However, the police did not say what he said. So far, the only certainty is that a collision with another vehicle can be ruled out. “We are investigating in all directions,” said the spokesman. Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) had told Bayerischer Rundfunk on Friday evening that he suspected a technical cause. According to a railway spokesman, the route was equipped with electronic interlockings and modern safety technology.

On Friday afternoon, several regional train wagons derailed on the way to Munich in the Burgrain district. Several of the train’s double-decker cars overturned, slid down an embankment and came to a standstill right next to a main road. At least four of the approximately 140 people on the train died, and children were among the injured. Some of the victims suffered serious injuries and required emergency surgery. It was one of the worst rail accidents in Germany in recent years.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted “with great dismay”: “My thoughts are with the injured and all their families in these difficult hours,” he said, according to a statement. “I would like to thank all police and rescue workers for their tireless and important work.” The district office in Garmisch-Partenkirchen announced that by the end of the rescue work, car traffic in the region would probably also be affected by the middle of next week. Traffic from Autobahn 95 is to continue to be diverted on a large scale, with the highway remaining closed to the south.