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Middle East
Deadly train accident in Israel
Seven people killed and 30 more injured as train hits minibus in southern Israel.
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2010 21:37 GMT
 

Seven members of the same family have been killed in Israel when the minibus they were travelling ignored traffic signals and crossed rail tracks into the path of a speeding train.

Two children and a pregnant woman were among the dead, rescue services said.

The accident happened near the town of Kiryat Gat.

Israeli media reports said that the accident happened when a northbound train struck the minibus as it crossed tracks. The bus then burst into flames with passengers trapped inside the wreckage.

Giora Weiss, the train driver, told Israeli media he saw the minibus driver talking to passengers sitting behind him before the collision.

"I saw the eyes of one of the passengers and it was horrible,'' he told reporters.

He said he hit the emergency brakes but could not stop the train. "When the driver realized he was in danger, he froze instead of driving forward to move the vehicle out of the way,'' he said.

The incident is one of the worst rail crashes in Israel's history. In June 2006, five people were killed and 75 were hurt in a collision between a train and a truck north of Tel Aviv.

In June 2005, a similar collision between a passenger train and a truck killed eight and injured nearly 200 close to Kiryat Malachi near the port of Ashdod in southern Israel.

Following that accident, Israel's transportation ministry set up a "train police" to monitor rail traffic.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies.
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