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J Orthop Trauma. 2000 May;14(4):287-90; discussion 277.

Facts about the disaster at Eschede.

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Klinik für Unfall- und Wiederherstellungschirugie, Allgemeines Krankenhaus, Celle, Germany.


On June 3, 1998, at 10:59 a.m., a high-speed train (Intercity Express, ICE) traveling at 200 kilometers per hour collided with a bridge at Eschede, Germany, causing it to collapse. The force of the collision, combined with the speed of the train's rear engine, propelled the rear wagons into the structure. The accident caused 101 deaths and 103 injuries. Four minutes after the accident, the alarm was reported; sixteen minutes after the accident, the first doctor on emergency call was on the scene, arriving from Celle, approximately twenty kilometers away. In the first four hours after the crash, different rescue organizations brought a total of 1,844 people to the accident site, including 461 ambulance personnel and paramedics. Thirty-nine aircraft, including helicopters and army aircraft, were available at the scene. Ninety-five passengers passed away on site. Many of the surviving passengers had multiple injuries and were stuck in the train; although they had to be rescued from the severely damaged wagons, all patients, with one exception, were on the way to hospitals by 12:55 p.m. The casualties were distributed among twenty-two hospitals; two victims later had to be transferred to other hospitals for medical reasons. This paper details the factors that were responsible for the success of the rescue operations at Eschede.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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