Two dead as Paris train hits football fans

8th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A commuter train slammed into a group of football fans who were walking on railway tracks in a Paris suburb, killing two youths and injuring 11 people, police said Sunday.

PARIS - The Lille fans had taken a shortcut on the unlit tracks to reach a bus taking them home after a match at the Stade de France stadium late Saturday, a railway official said.

Two boys aged 10 and 17 were killed. A 40-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, believed to be relatives of the victims, were seriously injured, local government officials said.

Another person was in serious condition and eight others suffered minor injuries.

Police had earlier said the two dead boys were brothers.

The group went into an off-limits zone protected by barriers and gates to try to reach the bus, said Jean-Pierre Farandou, a SNCF director.

The accident occurred at Aubervilliers, north of Paris, near the main rail station for the Stade de France where Lille team beat French champions Lyon.

The train was not carrying passengers when it hit the group at a speed of about 60 kilometres (40 miles) per hour, officials said.

Emergency teams from 12 rescue centres went to the scene to treat the injured and also search a nearby canal where they feared victims may have been thrown in the collision.

No bodies were found however and the search was called off on Sunday.

The accident caused major disruption on the commuter line and thousands returning from the match had to take special buses or walk to the nearest underground metro.

Transport secretary Dominique Bussereau ordered an investigation into the accident and to consider the risks linked to large gatherings at the stadium.

Lille football club president Michel Seydoux expressed condolences. "My thoughts are with the families, with the injured. As a father and grandfather, I know what you must be going through," he said.

AFP / Expatica

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