Train derailment near The Hague kills 1, injures several

Train derailment near The Hague kills 1, injures several

VOORSCHOTEN, Netherlands (AP) — A passenger train collided with a construction crane and derailed near The Hague early Tuesday, sending two carriages into a field near the tracks. One person died and 19 were hospitalized, Dutch emergency services said.

The police have launched investigations to find out if any crime has been committed. Another independent investigation was launched into the cause of the crash.

Television images showed people using temporary bridges and ladders to cross a narrow drain that ran along the tracks to reach the stricken train in the dark. Many windows in the train carriages were broken. It was not clear whether this happened during the crash or when the passengers tried to escape.

Two of the bright yellow and blue train cars came to a stop perpendicular to the tracks along the small canal and partway through a field. What appeared to be the front of the train was badly damaged. Other parts of the train partially derailed.

Video footage from inside the train shortly after the crash showed chaotic scenes as passengers scrambled to get out of the wreckage in the dark.

The four-car passenger train was carrying about 50 passengers at the time of the collision.

John Voppen, CEO of network rail company Pro Rail, said the passenger train and a freight train both hit a crane that was being used to carry out maintenance work. He said the crane was on tracks not being used by train traffic and it is not clear how the trains collided with the crane.

“We don’t understand how this could have happened,” he told reporters at a news conference.

The identity of the person killed in the accident was not immediately released and it was not clear whether the person was on the train or part of a maintenance team that had been working on the tracks between the cities of Leiden and The Hague when it crashed. it happened around 3:25 am (0125 GMT) in the town of Voorschoten.

Rail company NS also said in a statement that a passenger train, a freight train and a construction crane were involved in the collision, but the company gave no further details.

“Like everyone else, I am full of questions and we want to know exactly what happened,” NS CEO Wouter Koolmees said in a statement. “There should be a full investigation. At the moment, all attention is focused on the well-being of our passengers and colleagues.”

The regional emergency services coordinator said 11 of the injured passengers were treated at homes near the line and 19 were transported by a fleet of ambulances to five hospitals, including an open “disaster hospital” in the central city of Utrecht.

“A terrible train accident near Voorschoten, where unfortunately one person lost his life and many people were injured. My thoughts are with the relatives and all the victims. I wish them all the best,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima also expressed their sympathy in a tweet.

Ingrid de Roos, a spokeswoman for local fire services, told news show WNL that a small fire broke out at the rear of the train but was quickly extinguished.


Corder reports from The Hague.

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