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German train crash that killed 11 blamed on human error

By Ed Adamczyk
Prosecutors at Bad Aibling, Germany, said Tuesday human error was the cause of the February 9 head-on collision of two trains, in which 11 people were killed. <a class="tpstyle" href="http://bayern.de/service/fotoreihen/?frid=in58687">Photo courtesy the Bavarian government</a>
Prosecutors at Bad Aibling, Germany, said Tuesday human error was the cause of the February 9 head-on collision of two trains, in which 11 people were killed. Photo courtesy the Bavarian government

BAD AIBLING , Germany, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Human error by a dispatcher was the cause of a head-on train crash in Germany that killed 11 last week, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

"A special signal was activated that shouldn't have been ... what we have at the moment is a single, terrible failure," said prosecutor Jurgen Branz, adding that the dispatcher sounded an unheeded distress call after noticing his mistake Feb. 9.

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The unidentified dispatcher, 39, will likely be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"Had the dispatcher acted in accordance with the rules, as bound by his duty, the accident would not have happened," lead prosecutor Wolfgang Giese said in Bad Aibling, the town in southern Germany's Bavaria where the crash occurred.

The prosecutors said they do not believe the dispatcher acted deliberately.

The trains crashed head-on along a bend which offered no visual help to the drivers. The trains struck each other traveling about 62 mph without braking.

In addition to the 11 deaths, including both drivers, 24 passengers were severely injured and 61 others sustained lesser injuries.

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