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6 killed, 16 injured in train accident on Danish bridge

Posted: 6:50 AM, Jan 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-02 11:50:28Z

Six people were killed and 16 injured in an accident Wednesday morning involving a commuter train on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, Danish police said.

The accident, which involved two trains, occurred on a bridge linking the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen, a Danish police spokeswoman said. Police were first called at 7:35 a.m. (1:35 am ET), she said.

Passengers have been evacuated from the train but police and rescue teams are still working at the scene.

A spokesman for brewing company Carlsberg told CNN that Carlsberg beer was being transported on a freight train over the bridge. "The train was carrying our goods apparently, but we do not transport our own goods in Denmark," said Kasper Elbjorn from Carlsberg, which has its headquarters in Copenhagen. The beer was carried by Deutsche Bahn Cargo Scandinavia, he said.

No cause for the accident has been established yet by police but the two trains may have had contact, the police spokeswoman said.

Danish police cannot yet confirm the number of dead, nor who the victims are, the spokeswoman said. All possible causes are being investigated.

Passenger Jim Nielson, who is from Denmark but lives in Ireland, told CNN he was going to the airport to catch a flight back after the holidays when the incident occurred.

"I was on the second coach when the crash happened. There was a cargo train coming from Zealand, the opposite direction. It was shaking due to the strong wind," he said.

"One of the containers was blown off the cargo train into the rails, because of the wind. Our driver tried to stop the train, pulling the brake. But the train continued to drive a bit, and crashed into the container blown off from the cargo.

"I saw sparks coming from the wheels. I ducked and bumped my head. Ten seconds later I heard a sudden bang. Then the train came into a halt. There was a lot of confusion, total darkness. Passengers on the first coach took the hardest hit, I believe that's where most of the casualties are."

Nielson said the train was very crowded at the time. Emergency services arrived within 10 to 15 minutes, he said, and used special equipment to open the doors, which were jammed.

Nielson spoke from an evacuation center in the city of Nyborg, on Funen, where he was taken with scores of others from the train. "It's a bad way to start the New Year, but I'm glad to be safe," he said.

Flemming Jensen, managing director of Denmark's national rail service, DSB, said it took the accident very seriously.

"Our thoughts are with relatives and we are doing all we can and what is practically possible, to assist clients and their relatives," he said.

The bridge has now reopened to road traffic heading east but with speed restrictions in place, police said. Drivers are urged to show respect by not taking pictures or slowing down to look at the crash scene.