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Unread 11-10-2006, 14:51   #1
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Default French Tragedy

From BreakingNews.ie:

Four dead in French train crash
11/10/2006 - 15:22:07

Two trains collided today in north-eastern France close to the border with Luxembourg, killing at least four people, local officials and the French national rail operator said.

The crash at Zoufftgen in France, about 1.2 miles south of the border, involved a passenger train and a freight train colliding head-on, said a spokesman for French rail operator SNCF.

The local government in the Lorraine region and the SNCF had originally said at least 10 people were believed killed, but later revised their figures downward to four – including the two train drivers.

Nine people remained trapped in the wreckage, regional officials said, while two people were lightly injured. Officials initially said up to 20 people had been injured.

The impact of the crash lifted one of the passenger train’s sections on top of another, compressing it. Rescue teams stood atop the wreckage or near the crumpled carriage seeking to retrieve survivors and those injured.

Several carriages of the freight train, which was part of a convoy carrying merchandise, were either crumpled up, bent skyward or tipped over on their sides.

The passenger train was travelling from Luxembourg to the French city of Nancy, he said. The train line it was travelling on was being repaired, so it switched onto a second track, hitting the oncoming freight train.

French President Jacques Chirac ordered the government to “oversee the mobilisation of all rescue services and quickly bring to light the circumstances of this dramatic accident,” a statement from his office said.

More than 100 rescue workers were at or heading to the site to set up a mobile hospital and treat victims, local fire chief Samuel Gesret told France-2 television.

French prime minister Dominique de Villepin delayed a trip to the French Antilles to head to the crash site with Transport Minister Dominique Perben.

Luxembourg’s transport minister Lucien Lux also rushed to the scene, though his office declined to give any details. Guy Schuller, a Luxembourg government spokesman, said the victims had not yet been identified.

The crash occurred just before midday.

SNCF director-general Guillaume Pepy said the 22-car freight train had a green light at the time of the crash, and said there were no signs of speeding.
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