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Robots weld Golf car bodies (Golf VII) during a press tour at the plant of the German manufacturer Volkswagen AG (VW) in Zwickau, central Germany, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. More than 4 million vehicles (Golf and Passat) have left the production facilities since foundation of the Zwickau plant in 1990. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

A 21-year-old external contractor was killed by a robot at a Volkswagen plant near Kassel, Germany, today, according to the Financial Times.

The man was working to install the machine when he was struck in the chest by the robot and pressed against a metal plate, the newspaper's website  said. He later died of his injuries.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into how the accident occurred.

Robot-related fatalities are rare in western production plants as heavy robots are kept behind safety cages to prevent accidental contact with humans, according to the newspaper.

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