German train dispatcher accused of playing game before deadly crash

Story highlights

  • The dispatcher has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and gross negligence
  • The February train collision killed 12 people and injured 85, 23 of them seriously
  • The death toll rose Wednesday when a passenger injured in the crash died in hospital

(CNN)Moments before two trains collided head-on, killing 12 people, a dispatcher was playing a game on his phone, authorities said.

Train dispatcher was playing game on phone before crash
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Train dispatcher was playing game on phone before crash 01:16
Map: Bad Aibling, Germany
The dispatcher was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and gross negligence Tuesday. German police said their investigation showed he had "violated operational rules" by playing the game until shortly before the collision on February 9.
    The dispatcher's actions, which distracted him from controlling the train traffic crossing in Germany's southern state of Bavaria, amounted to more than just a "temporary failure" and were rather a "dereliction of duty," investigators said.
    The crash happened near the spa town of Bad Aibling, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of the Bavarian capital of Munich.
    The death toll from the accident rose to 12 Wednesday when a 46-year-old man who had been a passenger on one of the trains died in a Munich hospital.
    Police said at least 23 people suffered severe injuries and another 61 had less serious injuries.
    Both trains were traveling on the same track at about 100 kph (60 mph) at the moment of impact, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said.
    A week after the crash, a local prosecutor said a 39-year-old dispatcher was responsible for the crash, but it was not immediately clear what had happened.
    "If he had complied with the rules ... then there would have been no collision between the trains," Wolfgang Giese, the prosecutor, said.
    Investigators said they found no evidence of mechanical failure or technical defects that would have caused the crash.