Three dead, five seriously injured in collision of an international express and a Czech regional train

The collision in the Plzeň district of West Bohemia occurred after an express train reportedly passed a stop signal.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 04.08.2021 15:03:00 (updated on 04.08.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

An international express train and a regional passenger train collided near the village of Milavče between the Domažlice and Blížejov stations in the Plzeň region of the Czech Republic resulting in the deaths of three people and dozens of injuries. The incident occurred at approximately at 8:05 a.m. today,

Two of the fatalities were Czech train drivers, one of whom was driving the express train from Munich. The third fatality was a woman on the RegioShark regional train, according to emergency responders at the scene. Another five people are in serious condition, and four are moderately injured.

Four helicopters from Prague, Hradec Králové, Plzeň-Líně, and South Bohemia joined the rescue effort. The most seriously injured were transported by helicopter to hospitals in Motol and Střešovice in Prague and to the University Hospital in Plzeň.

Further casualties were taken to the Domažlice Hospital, which has canceled all operations planned for today and made several beds available in case more injured people needed to be hospitalized. Dozens of people suffered lighter injuries such as bruises and scratches, said regional rescue service spokeswoman Mária Svobodová said.

There were about 60 firefighters on the scene, or 12 units. Emergency workers from South Bohemians and Germany are also helping.

"Three German speakers are in the care of crews from Germany, and were subsequently transported to German hospitals," Svobodová said.

Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Petr Poncar said the slightly injured and uninjured people were taken to the local cultural center in Milavče. A post-traumatic intervention team is at the scene and police psychologists have also gone there. Firefighters have set up an information line at 950 330 330 for people affected by the incident, Poncar said.

People who had been on the trains involved in the accident and left the scene without contacting emergency services are asked to call that number as well.

Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček visited the scene. "I am just returning from the site of the train accident in Domažlice. Many thanks to paramedics, firefighters, police, region and municipality, they do an excellent job," he said on Twitter.

"The causes of the accident are being investigated; according to all information, there was a failure of the human factor at the express train, which did not stop at the Stop signal," he added.

The Czech Railway Inspectorate (DI ČR) is investigating the incident. Damages are expected to run into tens of millions of crowns. The inspectorate confirmed that the accident happened on a single-track section, where one of the trains was supposed to wait for the other to pass before entering, but failed to do so. DI ČR spokesman Martin Drápal told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that the exact circumstances of the accident were not yet clear.

Drápal said the Railway Inspectorate could reach its preliminary conclusions by the end of today, but a full investigation will take several months.

The German express train is owned by the private railway operator Landerbahn, which is part of the Netinera firm, a daughter company of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.

Landerbahn director Wolfgang Pollety expressed sympathy to the victims of the train accident. In a press release, Landerbahn said it is responsible for the operation of the Alex train only on German territory, and the Czech Railways (CD) is responsible for this train on Czech territory.

Traffic on the single-track international Prague - Plzeň - Furt im Wald - Munich line has been suspended. The Railway Administration (SŽ) tweeted that service on the line would resume on the evening of Aug. 6 at the earliest. An alternative bus service is running between Domažlice and Staňkov stations.

Czech Railways spokesman Petr Št'ahlavský told ČTK that those affected would be compensated according to the law.

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