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A regional train has derailed in southern Germany, killing at least four people, according to police and local officials

A regional train has derailed in southern Germany, killing at least four people, according to police and local officials.

A police spokesperson said on Friday the Munich-bound train had been quite full at the time of the crash in Burgrain, north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a ski resort in Bavaria that is also popular with hikers.

Police said on Twitter that at least four people were killed. They put the number of injured at about 30, 15 of whom were seriously injured and taken to hospitals.

There were multiple school students on board the train, the regional Muenchener Merkur newspaper cited local paper the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tagblatt as reporting

Three carriages overturned at least partly, and people were pulled out of the windows to safety.

Pictures on social media showed carriages of a double-decker regional train stuck between tree branches and rolled down an embankment, as well as people being carried away on stretchers and standing around on the tracks.

A major emergency services operation was still under way, police said, and the rail line was currently completely closed.

Regional trains have seen higher passenger numbers since June 1, when a ticket allowing Germany-wide travel came into effect.

Several people were killed and 40 more were injured on Friday when a regional passenger train derailed in the southern German state of Bavaria.

The death toll rose to five on Saturday after police recovered a further body.

The recovery effort has been difficult because one of the overturned carriages had to be lifted off the ground first.

Several people are still missing.

What is the latest?

Authorities now say three people are being treated for serious injuries in hospital, down on the 15 initially reported. Around 140 passengers were on board at the time of the accident.

A police spokesperson said a major operation to free people from the wreckage had been completed.

“As far as we can tell, all the people have been rescued from the train,” the spokesperson said, adding that removing the overturned wagons, however, would “certainly take a few days.”

On Saturday, however, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said it was possible that there could still be bodies trapped under overturned wagons, saying some seven people were still unaccounted for.

He said that all four people confirmed dead were adult women, although many children are known to have been on board the train.

What caused the train to derail?

It was not immediately clear what caused the train traveling from the Alpine ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen toward Munich to derail at about 12:20 local time (10:20 UTC).

Images from the scene showed several carriages overturned, intertwined with tree branches and partly rolled down an embankment.

Six rescue helicopters were in use to bring the injured to hospitals for treatment, according to a spokesperson for the ADAC Air Rescue service.

Part of the route between Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen has been blocked off and traffic is being diverted. A police spokesperson said the train tracks and neighboring highway may have to remain closed into the weekend.

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the cause of the incident.

Politicians offer condolences

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was shocked by the news and images of the accident.

“Our sympathy is with the relatives, with the injured, to whom we wish a speedy recovery,” he told broadcasters RTL and ntv.

The state premier of Bavaria, Markus Soder, said on Saturday during a visit to the site of the accident that it was an “incomprehensible thing to happen.”

“We hope very much that there are no further deaths,” he said, adding that such an accident was always a shock and a “blow to the heart.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing, who will visit the area on Saturday, said his ministry was in close contact with rail operator Deutsche Bahn and “providing support wherever we can.”

“My thoughts are with the relatives and injured,” he said. “Our experts are already on site to work with the investigating authorities to determine the cause of the accident.”

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