Serious accident on a railway line in the Ruhr area: A freight train hit two children in Recklinghausen.

One of them died, the other child meanwhile struggled to survive.

In the meantime, the nine-year-old boy has had an operation and is "currently no longer in acute danger," as a police spokesman told the German Press Agency in Recklinghausen on Friday.

According to initial police findings, the dead boy was ten years old.

There is no evidence of other injuries, said the police spokesman.

It should now be clarified how the children got onto the railway premises.

It is hoped that more information will be forthcoming in the course of the day.

In this context, the police appealed to witnesses to come forward.

Of particular interest is whether there might have been more children on the tracks before the accident.

"This is also an investigation subject," said the spokesman.

Reul: "It's terrible"

The accident was reported to the emergency services shortly after 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The exact circumstances remained open for the time being.

The police held back with further information;

it is possible that not all relatives were initially informed.

The first media reports said that a group of people had been caught and dragged along several hundred meters.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul spoke of a great "drama when something like this happens to children".

Something like that doesn't leave you alone.

"It's terrible." It was unclear how the accident could have happened, the minister said.

Pastors took care of the affected families.

A police spokesman said the location was under further forensic investigation.

The first barriers were lifted by the police on Friday night.

Numerous police cars were still on site, as a dpa reporter reported.

Emergency services could also still be seen on the tracks.

According to the fire department, 35 firefighters and rescue workers were deployed.

"We searched the track bed," said a spokesman for the fire department.

Due to the darkness and the extent of the search area, a drone was used.

The accident site is near a former freight yard.

Recklinghausen is located in the northern Ruhr area.

According to a railway spokeswoman, the railway line was initially closed during the night.

"We don't yet have a forecast as to when the route will be free again," she said.

A bus is used as a rail replacement service between the two stations.

According to Deutsche Bahn, there are restrictions on regional transport on the S9, RE2 and RE42 train lines.

Long-distance traffic is not affected.

According to information from Deutsche Bahn, the accident happened in the Recklinghausen-Ost area.