Two trains collided in the village of Milavče between the Domažlice and Blížejov stations on Wednesday morning. One of the trains, the Western Express Ex 351, was headed from Munich to Prague. The other one was a regional train. The accident claimed three victims, two engine drivers, and a female passenger. Dozens of others were injured. Five people are in serious condition, while five have moderate injuries.
The accident happened on a single-track railway, in front of which the trains should have had passed each other. The accident is being investigated by the Rail Safety Inspection Office. The damage will reach tens of millions of korunas.
“People on the spot are beaten and scratched,” said Mária Svobodová, a spokeswoman for the regional rescue service, shortly after the accident.
Firefighters confirmed three dead on the spot. They also reported five seriously injured, who were transported to the Prague hospitals in Motol and Střešovice and to the Pilsen University Hospital. The nearby Domažlice hospital canceled all planned operations and vacated beds for the wounded.
“The Ex 351 train passed a signal in the STOP position in the Radonice turnout in Domažlice and collided with the local train,” wrote Minister of Transport Karel Havlíček on Twitter.
This was also confirmed by the spokesman of the railway inspection, Martin Drápal. However, he pointed out that it is not yet clear whether the cause was the oversight on the train driver’s part or a technical error on the train or track. The complete investigation of the crash will take several months.
According to German media and experts, the tragic collision revealed the problems of outdated railway security in the Czech Republic. In an interview with the Bavarian BR24 TV station, Lukas Iffländer from the management of the German passenger association PRO BAHN said that many Czech railways are only minimally maintained and operate in a simplified mode.
Title image: This photo made available by the Czech Republic Police shows two trains after a collision, near the village of Pernink, Czech Republic, Tuesday July 7, 2020. Officials say two passenger trains collided head-on in western Czech Republic, killing at least two people on board and injuring about 20. The Czech Rail Safety Inspectorate says the collision took place after 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) Tuesday between the stations Nove Hamry and Pernink near the German border. (Czech Republic Police via AP)