Police in Germany say a 59-year-old man is lucky to be alive after he held on to the outside of a high-speed train because it had moved away with his luggage. The passenger clung on for dear life as the train sped through the north west German countryside at 100mph (160km/h), with the driver completely unaware.

The train was only brought to a halt about 25km down the line, in the town of Lohne, after a rail worker raised the alarm. "The 59-year-old can thank the rail personnel for the fact that he is still alive – they saw him as the train left Bielefeld station and were able to alert the train crew," a police spokesperson said on Thursday 28 September, according to The Local.

Police say the incident happened after the man put his luggage on the ICE train to Hanover, but then disembarked and went back onto the platform.

The train doors closed behind him and the locomotive began moving away from the station, prompting the man to panic and jump between two carriages.

He grabbed onto the connecting plastic "bellows" and stood on a small ledge to keep himself from falling to certain death.

After the train stopped he was taken into a carriage and allowed to continue his journey to Hanover, where police were waiting.

The incident comes after video footage emerged of another incident in Australia where a man was spotted clinging to the back of a speeding train.

Passers-by watched in shock as they saw the 23-year-old hang on to the train's windscreen wipers after it left Leederville Station in Perth at around 4.30pm on Saturday. The train got up to speeds of 70mph.

The man was arrested by officers from the city's Public Transport Authority (PTA) when the train arrived at its next stop at Stirling station.

The incident happened on an Intercity Express ICE train travelling to Hanover REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski