You don’t see much of the railway line in Recklinghausen late Thursday evening, where two children were hit by a freight train hours earlier. One thing is certain: for a ten-year-old, any help came too late. The other, a nine-year-old, underwent surgery that evening. The police speak of “severe injuries”.

“Our thoughts are with the child who is in the hospital, that it goes well,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) in a depressed voice in the evening at the barrier at a great distance from the accident tracks. Without further ado, he went to Recklinghausen to get an idea of ​​the situation on site.

An ambulance had just taken the child’s parents to the hospital. “On the railway, young children: It’s terrible what happened there,” says the minister. It is a “big drama when something like this happens to children”.

dismay among local residents

In the evening, many emergency services secure the barrier within sight of the railway tracks. Several dozen people have gathered in front of it and are hoping for more information. Many know each other. In addition to around two dozen police officers, there are also emergency chaplains on site. The police later announced that the relatives were being cared for by victim protection officers.

A young man and his two friends also came. He lives nearby and knows the family of the injured child. When he heard what happened, he immediately called home and asked about his younger siblings. Luckily they were at home, reports the 24-year-old.

The three tell that there is an abandoned, former railway building between the tracks at the old Ostbahnhof, where young people often stayed. They would have played there themselves as children. You can get there either through the bushes or over the tracks. But whether the accident happened there or somewhere else remains unclear.

Search for clues continues

The emergency call came in just after 6 p.m. The police suspect that the driver of the accident train had informed the fire brigade. At first there was talk of several children. A police spokesman later said: “We have no evidence that a third child is involved.”

The forensic search for clues on the railway line continued throughout the night. Emergency services with flashlights could still be seen on a track well after midnight.