Six killed in train accident on bridge linking Denmark islands

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Six people have been killed and several others injured in a train accident on a bridge connecting two main islands in Denmark.

A passenger train was hit by cargo or tarpaulin from a freight train travelling in the opposite direction.

Police said 16 people were injured, out of a total of 131 passengers and three crew on board.

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A police spokesman said the passenger train had been "hit an unknown object" but did not comment further.

Brewing company Carslberg confirmed the freight train was transporting their goods between its Fredericia brewery and Copenhagen.

A view of a train accident site on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark

Image:The scene of the accident on the Storebaelt bridge

Train accident on Denmark's Great Belt Bridge

Image:Sixteen people were also injured

The passenger train was heading towards capital Copenhagen - having departed from the city of Odense - when the accident happened around 8am local time on Wednesday.

Heidi Langberg Zumbusch, who had just boarded the train and taken her seat when the accident happened, said there was a "loud crash and the windows started smashing onto our heads".

"We flew down onto the floor, and then the train stopped," she told Denmark's public broadcaster DR.

"We were lucky. The people in the carriage in front of us were not so lucky."

Her fellow passengers told her they saw the side of the carriage in front ripped off, she added.

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

The Storebaelt bridge, also known as the Great Belt Fixed Link, joins Denmark's two most-populated islands of Zealand and Funen.

The Great Belt Bridge is seen after traffic has been closed in both directions due to a train accident in Denmark

Image:The bridge connects Denmark's two main islands

A view of a train accident site on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark

Image:The passenger train is reported to have been hit by the tarpaulin of a freight train

The road and rail bridge is part of a transport system consisting of a road suspension bridge and a railway tunnel.

It had been closed to cars overnight because of strong winds but trains could pass.

The 18km (11 mile) link carries around 21,000 train passengers and more than 27,000 vehicles every day.

It is also part of infrastructure that links Denmark and Sweden to Germany.

"This morning's tragic accident on the Great Belt Bridge with many killed and wounded has shaken us all," said Denmark's prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

"Ordinary Danes on their way to work or on the way home from Christmas holidays have had their lives shattered."

Police keep guard after a train accident on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark

Image:There were strong winds in the area on Wednesday

The bridge was closed on Wednesday for both trains and vehicles towards Funen, but opened for car traffic towards Zealand again with a 31mph (50kph) speed limit.

A severe storm was making it difficult for emergency services to reach the passenger train, although an emergency centre was set up in the town of Nyborg at the western end of the bridge.

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