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The Journal Gazette

  • The driver's cabins are seen destroyed after two regional trains crashed head on in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Several people were injured. (AP Photo/dapd, Hans Punz)

Monday, January 21, 2013 12:07 pm

Vienna trains crash head-on, 41 people injured

The Associated Press

Two trains packed with morning commuters crashed head-on Monday on Vienna's outskirts after a state railway employee apparently forgot to activate a signal. Railway officials said 41 people were injured, five seriously.

A statement from OBB, Austria's state railway, said initial investigations show that a supervisor neglected to trip a signal after manually activating a rail switch. The switch usually works automatically and sets off the signal but was stuck due to snow and ice.

The accident occurred with the two trains heading in opposite directions on a single set of tracks. The signal would have normally warned one of them to wait on another set of tracks until the other one passed.

The statement said the accident was apparently due to "human error of the responsible supervisor."

Two helicopters from the Austrian motor club OAMTC joined ambulance crews in evacuating the wagons after the early morning accident.

OBB said final results of the investigation will be published in the coming days.