Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fatal explosion on Italian train!

Emergency service workers at the accident scene

At least 13 people have been killed and some 50 injured after a freight train carrying gas derailed and exploded in northern Italy, officials say.

The carriages jumped from the tracks and crashed into several homes, setting off an inferno in the town of Viareggio in the middle of the night.

Several of the victims died when their houses collapsed. There are fears some people may be trapped under the rubble.

Officials say there is still a risk that other gas tanks could explode.

The explosion happened shortly before midnight local time (2300 BST) when one carriage in the 14-carriage train carrying liquefied petroleum gas came off the tracks before ploughing into several homes near the station in Viareggio.


"The carriages flipped over on their sides on the rails and the gas spread out among the nearest houses before exploding," firefighter Antonio Gambardella was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

A number of fires immediately broke out in the area.

Several of the victims died when their houses collapsed with the force of the blast.

At least two other people are thought to have been killed on the road next to the station.

Many of the injured suffered severe burns.

"It was a terrifying scene which I'll never be able to forget," a witness was quoted as saying by Italy's Ansa news agency.

Police say the incident may have been caused by damage to the tracks or a problem with the train's braking system.

The train's two engineers, who were only slightly injured, said they felt an impact about 200m (650ft) outside the station, shortly before the rear of the train derailed, officials say.

Liquefied petroleum gas is a mixture of propane and butane that is used for cooking or as fuel for specially-adapted vehicles.




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