Four killed, dozens injured in Czech train crash

Train with about 300 people on board was heading towards western Ukraine when it struck a goods train travelling in the opposite direction.

Emergency teams at the site of the train collision. The passenger train is on the left and the carriage has been lifted from the track. The engine of the goods train is on the right.
Firefighters working at the scene of the accident [Jiri Sekora/EPA]

Four people have been killed and more than two dozen injured after a passenger train crashed into a goods train in the Czech city of Pardubice, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the capital Prague.

The head-on collision took place after 11pm (21:00 GMT) on Wednesday, as the train with more than 300 passengers was heading east towards Ukraine, officials said.

“I can confirm that four people suffered injuries incompatible with life,” Alena Kisiala, a spokeswoman for local emergency services, told broadcaster Czech TV.

The train was on its way from Prague to the western Ukrainian town of Chop close to the border with Slovakia, and many foreigners were among those on board. Of the 24 people injured, three were reported to be in serious condition.

The Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala offered his condolences for what he described as a “great disaster” on social media platform X.

“We are all thinking of the victims and the injured,” he wrote.

Dozens of police, fire and emergency service units were sent to the scene of the accident, helping evacuate passengers from the carriages.

Footage shared on news website idnes.cz showed at least one carriage off the track, while other photos suggested the front of the train had been crushed.

Services between Prague and the smaller cities of Brno and Ostrava were suspended for several hours.

Czech Television quoted a fire brigade spokesperson saying the goods train was carrying the industrial chemical calcium carbide, although the first two wagons were empty, so there was no leak.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the collision.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies