Twenty dead in Brussels rush hour train crash

15th February 2010, Comments 0 comments

Packed commuter trains collided head-on during rush hour outside Brussels on Monday killing at least 20 people, the mayor of the suburban town of Halle told Belgian media.

Brussels--"There are at least 20 dead," said the local official, cited by Flemish public television VRT and national press agency Belga.

Neither the national railways company SNCB nor the track operator Infrabel were able to confirm the toll.

However, "police would place the probable toll from the accident at at least a dozen dead," Infrabel spokeswoman Fanny Charpentier told AFP, spelling out that two trains initially collided head-on.

"The collision was brutal, the train didn't brake," an unnamed passenger was quoted by RTL TV news website as saying. "Wagons have been turned over, lots of people are in shock."

The accident, which sucked in a third train and has caused major rail traffic disruption, came at the height of the rush hour, with Anne Woygnet of SNCB also listing "serious" injuries.

Both Thalys and Eurostar high-speed train services in and out of Brussels are seriously disrupted, the two operators said.

Thalys said three trains were involved, and advised passengers to change their travel plans.

Eurostar warned that "it is possible that services remain suspended all day."


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