Train accident on bridge in Denmark kills 6, injures 16

"Ordinary Danes on their way to work or heading home from the Christmas holidays have had their lives smashed."
Image: A train on the Storebaelt bridge near Nyborg, Denmark
One of the trains involved in Wednesday's accident on the Storebaelt bridge near Nyborg, Denmark.Michael Bager / Ritzau Scanpix via AP

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By Associated Press

Six people were killed and 16 others injured Wednesday when a passenger train apparently hit falling cargo from a passing freight train as it crossed a bridge in Denmark.

The rail operator, Danish Railways, earlier told TV2 that the victims were passengers on a train traveling from Odense to Copenhagen.

Police spokesman Lars Braemhoej said that while "we do not know precisely what caused the accident," one possible cause was that cargo from a passing freight train fell off and hit the passenger train. He added there was "considerable damage" to the passenger train.

Police declined to comment on a report from Denmark's TV2 channel that a container had likely fallen off the cargo train.

Officials examine the damaged passenger train.TIM K. JENSEN / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP - Getty Ima

Danish media initially reported that a tarpaulin on a freight train hit the passenger train, which was going in the opposite direction, prompting it to brake violently.

"Ordinary Danes on their way to work or heading home from the Christmas holidays have had their lives smashed," said Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.

Photos from the scene show the freight train was carrying crates of beer, and the tarpaulin that covered the train was torn in pieces.

Kasper Elbjoern, spokesman for Danish brewery group Carlsberg, confirmed that a freight train transporting its cargo was involved in the accident.

Damaged cargo compartments of a train near Nyborg, Denmark, on Wednesday.Michael Bager / AP

Police said those hurt sustained light to moderate injuries.

Jesper Nielsen, who was on the passenger train, told Denmark's TV2 the train "was out on the bridge when there was a huge 'bang' .... very quickly thereafter, the train braked."

The accident took place on a road-and-rail bridge, part of the Storebaelt system of bridges and a tunnel linking the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen.

Reuters contributed.