German train operator playing with smartphone in crash that killed 12, lawyers say

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Nov. 10, 2016 at 11:22 AM
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BAVARIA , Germany, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A German train operator told a courtroom Thursday he caused a crash that killed 12 passengers because he was distracted by a game on his mobile phone and activated the wrong signals that caused two trains to collide.

Michael Paul, 40, said he was playing Dungeon Hunter 5 on his phone when he activated signals that allowed two trains on to a single-track line. He then dialed the wrong emergency number to notify the other train of the impending collision on Feb. 9 near Bad Aibling, Germany. Twelve people, all men between the ages of 24 and 59, died in the crash and 89 other passengers were injured.

Paul, accused of involuntary manslaughter, apologized through his attorney to the victims and their families. His attorneys said he admitted to playing the game while on duty, which is banned by the railway.

"I know that I cannot undo what has happened, even if I wish I could," he said.

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