Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - Page 1 News List

High-speed train derails in France, 10 reported killed


Emergency personnel stand beside a derailed TGV train in a canal in Eckwersheim, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

At least 10 people were killed and five were missing after a French high-speed train derailed during a test run on Saturday, local officials said, the first fatal accident since the TGV trains were introduced more than 30 years ago.

The people killed were among a team of 49 technicians aboard the train, which derailed near Strasbourg. There were no other passengers.

The train was traveling at about 350kph on a high-speed line as part of testing for the next generation of TGV due to go into service next year, a source close to the inquiry said.

Another 37 people were injured, including 12 people in critical condition, local officials said.

Five others were said to be missing, with some people “still trapped under the carriages,” French Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development Segolene Royal said.

The train ended up under a bridge in the water of a 40m-wide canal.

Search and rescue teams with sniffer dogs were set to continue work throughout the night.

Royal, who visited the crash site later on Saturday, as did French Ministry of Transport Secretary Alain Vidal, called it “an apocalyptic scene” and expressed her solidarity with the family of those killed.

The accident happened “because of excessive speed” at Eckwersheim in eastern France as technicians were onboard for testing, said Dominique-Nicolas Jane, a senior official in the Alsace region.

However, police said the cause of the crash had not been determined.

A source close to the investigation said dozens of technicians were aboard.

The damaged silver and black front on the train could be seen lying in the canal under a bridge, with the next carriage straddling the bank and the water.

A plume of black smoke could be seen from several kilometers away.

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