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Landslide derails train in Italy
At least nine people killed as train crashes near northern town of Merano.
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2010 14:02 GMT
The train hit a number of trees after being derailed, which stopped it from falling into a river below [AFP]
 

A landslide has hit and derailed a passenger train in northern Italy, killing at least nine people and injuring 25, emergency services have said.

The accident happened at peak commuter time on Monday morning near the city of Merano, in a mountainous area about 300km north of Venice.

"There are nine confirmed victims, while 28 people have been injured, seven of them seriously," Luis Durnwalder, governor of the German-speaking Bolzano-Bozen province, told Reuters.

Local media reported the front car of the train hit two large trees after the landslide struck, which stopped it from falling into a river below.

The carriage was left hanging precariously over the river and firefighters used cables to prevent it from slipping further down the mountainside, the ANSA news agency said.

The railway line in the province of Bolzano, inaugurated in 2005, is considered one of the most modern tracks in the country.

Thomas Widmann, a transport adviser to the local provincial government, told Sky Italia television that the landslide appeared to have been caused by
a burst irrigation pipe.

Monday's accident was the worst in Europe since a Belgian train crash in February in which 18 people died when two rush-hour commuter trains collided outside Brussels.

Italy suffered its worst rail accident in 20 years last June,  with 29 people killed when a freight train ferrying liquefied petroleum gas derailed in Viareggio, on Italy's north-west coast, causing a series of explosions.

Source:
Agencies
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