- Title: FRANCE: Up to 13 people dead in French train crash
- Date: 12th October 2006
- Summary: (1430 FLASH)ZOUFFTGEN, FRANCE (OCTOBER 11, 2006) (REUTERS) AFTERMATH OF TRAIN CRASH CRASHED CARRIAGE RESCUE WORKERS VARIOUS OF WORKERS ON DAMAGED CARRIAGES POLICE HELICOPTER POLICE CAR AND OFFICER NEXT TO TRAIN VARIOUS OF RESCUE WORKERS SEARCHING THROUGH WRECKAGE
- Reuters ID: LVA3A371NO2QXZ29LZ4C5OP660XG
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:01:10
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Transport
- Story Text: A double-decker passenger train from Luxembourg collided head-on with a goods train in north eastern France on Wednesday (October 11), killing as many as 13 people, state SNCF railways said.
Rail officials said the trains were travelling on the same stretch of track because of maintenance work on an adjoining line, and slammed into each other in a wooded area.
More than four hours after the crash, some bodies were still trapped in the mangled wreck and emergency services did not rule out finding more victims.
The passenger train consisted of just three carriages and was heading from Luxembourg to the French city of Nancy.
Seconds after crossing into France, at around 11.45 a.m. (0945 GMT), it slammed into the goods train, which had 22 wagons and was making its way to Luxembourg.
The SNCF said "about 10 passengers" died as well as the two drivers of the trains. A workman was killed by the trackside. The official death toll was put at just five, but police said this figure did not take into account bodies still to be recovered.
More than 100 French and Luxembourg emergency service staff were dispatched to the scene near the station at Zoufftgen in the French department of Moselle. Some of the injured were airlifted to hospital by helicopter.
Wednesday's crash appeared to be the worst train disaster in France since at least November 2002, when fire swept through a sleeper car on a Paris-Vienna express train, killing 12 people.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was flying to the French Caribbean when news of the accident broke and decided to turn back to France and visited the crash scene.
"I am deeply moved by this drama, and in the name of the French nation, I would like to express the sympathy and the pain of every one in front of this drama that touches all of us. I would like to address this sympathy to the victims and their families, and to the railwaymen concerned as well," said de Villepin.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker also went to see the emergency operation.
"I see, but it's not a consolation, that the rescue services of both countries work hand in hand," he said.
SNCF immediately opened an inquiry into the collision. SNCF say the passenger train had not passed a red signal.
"The two trains met at the same time at the same point on the same track ,it's a nose to nose, an accident of face to face, extremely rare, so we have to find out why they met each other on the same track at the same time in contrary direction.For now what we have as information , the French train when it was moving on this track, the traffic line was green, so the conductor didn't go over any red signals," said SNCF director Guillaume Pepy.
French judicial authorities have also opened their own investigation into the crash.
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