One killed, 30 injured after Netherlands train crash

Passenger carriages derailed after the train ran into construction equipment on the track in the early hours of Tuesday.

rescue operations underway following the derailment of a passenger train after it hit construction equipment on the track, in Voorschoten, Netherlands
Rescue operations underway after the passenger train hit a crane and jumped the tracks [Kyrlian De Bot via Reuters]

At least one person was killed and 30 were injured – many seriously – when a passenger train carrying about 50 people derailed in the Netherlands after hitting construction equipment on the track.

The accident took place in the village of Voorschoten, about 55km (34 miles) south of the capital Amsterdam, at 3:30am (01:30 GMT), according to broadcaster NOS.

Two of the double decker train’s four carriages were derailed with the ANP news agency reporting a fire in the rear carriage that was later extinguished.

“This is an incredibly tragic accident,” Voorschoten Mayor Nadine Stemerdink said. “We regret there was also a fatality. My thoughts go out to all the family and friends of those involved.”

Images from the scene showed a front carriage that landed on a field, while a second flipped on its side.

A map of the Netherlands showing the location of the crash

NOS cited a spokesperson for the Hollands Midden security region saying there were “many victims”.

Several ambulances and a helicopter were deployed to take seriously injured passengers to hospital.

“We heard a loud bang and suddenly the lights went out,” an unidentified witness told the local Omroep West television news. “We couldn’t initially get out of the train because there was no electricity. Eventually we got after what felt like hours.”

It was initially reported the accident happened after the passenger train collided with a cargo train, but Dutch Railways later announced the passenger train had run into a construction crane that was on or near the track.

NOS said emergency services including a helicopter had been deployed with the injured taken to hospital.

The train was on its way from Leiden to The Hague when the accident happened. Train services on the route have been suspended.

The Netherland’s worst train disaster happened on January 8, 1962, when two passenger trains crashed at Harmelen, near the central city of Utrecht, killing 93 people and injuring 52 others.

That accident occurred in thick fog when a train driver missed a warning signal and the two trains hit head-on.

A general view shows aftermath following the derailment of a passenger train after it hit construction equipment on the track, in Voorschoten
The aftermath of the derailment of a passenger train in Voorschoten [Kyrlian De Bot via Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies