Man fights for life after French train crash

6th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

A man was left fighting for his life after a train hit a trailer carrying straw near the southwestern French city of Limoges.

Limoges – A man was left fighting for his life Saturday after a train hit a trailer carrying straw near the southwestern French city of Limoges and derailed, officials said.

Thirteen people were injured when three wagons derailed Friday around 8:40 pm (1840 GMT) after the train rammed into the trailer that had accidentally toppled on the tracks minutes earlier.

One 42-year-old male passenger was in a critical condition after suffering multiple injuries in the crash. He was in intensive care after undergoing surgery overnight, a hospital official said.

A 48-year-old female passenger was also "very seriously injured" but no longer in danger of dying, the official said.

A third person was also still in hospital after suffering a broken jaw. Several of the other injured were released from hospital on Saturday after treatment.

The train, which was heading from Paris to the southern city of Cahors, was carrying some 450 passengers, the state rail company SNCF said.

It hit the trailer at 110 kilometres an hour (68 miles per hour) and dragged it for 200 metres (650 feet).

The windows of the first wagon to hit the trailer were shattered and its roof was sheared, said Olivier Tcherkessof, the local state prosecutor.

The owner of trailer, a farmer in his 60s, was arrested for causing involuntary injuries but was later released. He was loading the trailer with bales of straw when it hurtled down onto the tracks in a freak accident.

The farmer immediately alerted the police, who in turn informed rail authorities but the train's driver could not avert the collision despite applying emergency brakes.

"There was very little time between the farmer's call and the crash, between two to three minutes," Tcherkessof said.

At the start of the summer holiday season dozens of rail workers worked through the night to repair the damage to the tracks and overhead lines, and clear one of the two blocked tracks, a spokesman said.

Traffic on one track resumed Saturday around 10:30 am (0830 GMT) at reduced speed.

AFP / Expatica

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