Freezing rain and cold weather buffeting Germany were blamed for traffic accidents that left three dead on Tuesday while Munich Airport temporarily suspended flights.
One student was killed in a crash involving a school bus in the Erzgebirge mountains in the eastern German state of Saxony, police said. At least 10 other schoolchildren were taken to a hospital. Two adults, including the bus driver, were seriously injured.
The bus skidded into the side of a winter road maintenance vehicle in Sehmatal county near the Czech border, German news agency dpa reported. It then crashed head-on into a tree and and the impact was so strong that it completely destroyed the front of the vehicle.
In Munich, all flights were either cancelled or postponed between 6 a.m. and noon (0500-1100 GMT), with the airport warning that many flights scheduled for later in the day might also be affected by the severe weather conditions.
The airport, Germany’s second-biggest, announced the temporary shutdown on Monday night as a result of weather forecasts for Tuesday. “The operating areas will be de-iced in the first half of the day. The plan is to allow air traffic to resume from midday,” the airport said on its website. “However, it can be assumed that the majority of flights will also have to be cancelled during the rest of the day for safety reasons.”
Tuesday’s cancellations came after all flights at Munich Airport were grounded on Saturday following heavy snowfall in the city and in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria. Two people died in a collision between a car and a tractor-trailer on the A8 highway in Upper Bavaria. According to the police, their car skidded under the rear of a truck, which had come to a stop across the highway overnight from Monday to Tuesday due to frozen rain on the highway’s surface, dpa reported.
The A99 near Munich was shutdown in both direction after 13 vehicles were involved in a mass accident, dpa reported. There was no immediate information about possible injuries. Train operator Deutsche Bahn said traffic in the Munich region would be affected for several days.
“At present, access to Munich’s main station is severely restricted. Only a few long-distance trains are therefore running to and from Munich,” it said on its website on Tuesday. Rail services to the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck, as well as Zurich in Switzerland, remained suspended. Deutsche Bahn said that there could also be train cancellations and delays in other parts of southern Germany. Passengers were asked to postpone non-essential journeys to Wednesday.
Southern Germany as well as neighbouring Austria and Switzerland have been
experiencing heavy snowfall which has affected public transport all over the region and led to alarm about possible avalanches.