German train driver probed after crash

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The driver of a freight train that collided head-on with a passenger train in eastern Germany, killing 10 people, is being investigated for alleged involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors said Monday.

The probe is based on an eyewitness account and other evidence suggesting the driver failed to react to a stop signal on the single line track late on Saturday, prosecutors and police said in a joint statement.

Press reports have suggested he was not even in the cab of the train at the time. He is currently being treated for injuries in hospital and has not spoken about the accident yet, police said.

The high-speed crash, in which 23 people were also injured, some of them seriously, occurred in thick fog in Hordorf, near Magdeburg in Germany's eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The driver of the passenger train and nine passengers died after the oncoming freight train all but obliterated the first carriage, knocking the rest of the Harz-Elbe-Express (HEX) clear off the track.

The bodies were so badly mangled that police have only been able to identify two men aged 63 and 74 so far. Ten people were still being treated in hospital on Monday.

The injured included two Georgians, a Portuguese woman and a Brazilian woman.

© 2011 AFP

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