At least six people were killed and 16 more wounded Wednesday in an accident that happened as a passenger train was crossing a long bridge between two islands in central Denmark. Citing police, Danish media say the train was hit by something that fell off a passing freight train.
The accident happened around 7:30 a.m. on the busy Storebaelt bridge and tunnel system that connects the central islands of Zealand and Funen, according to the Danish Broadcasting Corp.
Funen police say all of the 16 people who were injured are expected to recover, the Danish broadcaster reports. The trains passed each other at a site near Nyborg, roughly 75 miles west of Copenhagen.
“Ordinary Danes on their way to work or heading home from the Christmas holidays have had their lives smashed,” Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said in a statement of sympathy as translated by The Associated Press.
Police say they’re still trying to learn more details about what happened. Danish media report that an object from the freight train may have forced the passenger train to stop suddenly. The item that fell from the freight train has variously been reported as a piece of cargo or a tarpaulin.
Images from the scene showed heavy damage to the passenger train, including a partially caved-in nose. Windows were shattered, and debris littered the tracks. The freight train, which was carrying a load that included crates of Carlsberg beer, was also damaged. Photos showed that several long tarpaulins covering the train’s cargo trailers had been ripped apart.
Emergency crews at the scene have been hampered by high winds, and even after the adjacent roadway was reopened, a high-wind advisory kept high-profile vehicles off the bridge. Police also asked drivers to move through the area of the crash at a steady pace — and not slow down to stare or take photos of the accident scene.