At least seven people were killed and ten injured after a high speed train came off the tracks as it crossed a bridge and plunged into a canal in France, according to local reports.
The train was undergoing a test run when it burst into flames, split apart and veered off a bridge just outside Eckwersheim, Strasbourg.
The TGV test train, which had 49 people on board, was going to fast and skipped off the tracks near the German border, said spokeswoman Viviane Chevallier of the Bas-Rhin region
In a statement, French President Francois Hollande’s office said the train was not running on a line used by commercial trains. His office said 10 people were gravely injured. Ms Chevallier had said earlier 11 people were severely injured.
Five helicopters were deployed to evacuate the injured to hospital in the nearby city of Strasbourg. Two government ministers were en route to the site.
Rescue workers were seen approaching the mangled train on rubber dinghies and tending to the wounded by the side of the canal.
The train derailed because it was travelling at ‘excessive speed’ but it is not known whether the final death toll will rise, it was reported. Technicians were said to be on board the train when it crashed.
SNCF, France’s national state owned railway, refused to provide further details. The train crashed on the new high speed line between Paris and Strasbourg which has never been used before.
The second section of the Paris-Strasbourg high-speed TGV line, on which the crash happened, is set to open for service in April 2016.
It derailed while crossing a bridge and its carriages fell into the Marne-Rhine canal, witnesses have said.
There is no reason to believe the crash was liked to last night’s terror attacks in the French capital, Paris, where at least 127 people were killed, Ms Chevallier said.
Credit: Daily Mail