A video has been released showing the moment a train crashed into a school bus just after terrified students had escaped from the vehicle. The articulated bus had become stuck when it had to turn into a narrow street following a level crossing, leaving the back end of the vehicle on the tracks.
Unable to restart the bus, the 23-year-old driver evacuated it, moving the group of about 60 students on to the road running parallel to the railway in Hedendorf, some 30km west of Hamburg. The students watched as the train hurtled along the tracks, blasting its horn, and crashed into the bus.
"We were on our way to school as normal, but because the B73 was blocked we had to follow a diversion. And as we were going over the level crossing, the bend in the bus jammed and it could not go any further. Shortly after a train was approaching and panic descended, and we had to evacuate the bus. Then the train crashed into it," the boy who recorded the video, Marvin Schulz, said.
Panic descended when the students realised a train was coming, Schulz said, but luckily the driver kept calm enough to get them to safety. "Of course she was panicking – she is only 23 and what are you supposed to do in that situation? She did the right thing: opened all the doors so everybody could get out and evacuated all the students," said Schulz.
"[It was] awful, all our legs were shaking and some of my friends started crying. We knew that that was exactly where we had been sitting before and what might have happened. That's quite intense," he added.
Only one person on the train was lightly injured, police said, but the route would remain blocked for several hours. Police estimated the damage at around €300,000 (£219,000).