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German Authorities Investigate Deadly Maglev Train Crash


German authorities are investigating a high-speed train crash Friday that killed 23 people and injured 10 others.

Prosecutors Saturday sent technical experts to the test track in the northern town of Lathen where the accident occurred to find out why the Transrapid magnetic levitation train and a maintenance vehicle were on the track at the same time.

The train was traveling at a speed of nearly 200 kilometers per hour when it slammed into the maintenance vehicle, which was cleaning the track.

Prosecutors and officials of test track operator, IABG, say human error, possibly a breakdown in communication, is probably the cause of the accident. They say, so far, there is no evidence the train's technology failed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to the crash site Friday.

At least 200 emergency workers carried out search and rescue operations, which were complicated because the monorail track is elevated about five meters off the ground.

The Transrapid train has no fuel source or engine. It is propelled by electro-magnetic power, and glides about one centimeter above the rail on a magnetic cushion. Magnetic levitation, or "maglev," trains are capable of reaching speeds of up to 450 kilometers per hour.

The only commercially operated Transrapid train system is in Shanghai, China. There the 30-kilometer track goes from the city's financial center to Pudong airport.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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