Polish train derails en route to Katowice

At least one passenger is killed and more than 40 others wounded in the accident.

    A passenger train derailed near the village of Baby, in central Poland en route to the city of Katowice [Reuters]

    A train packed with about 280 passengers has derailed in central Poland as it was travelling from Warsaw to Katowice, killing one passenger and injuring more than 40 others.

    Authorities initially said that four people died when it left its tracks around 14:15 GMT, but Adam Kolasa, a police commander, later said one person had died. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

    "Luckily the death toll is not as high as we had originally thought," prime minister Donald Tusk told Poland's TVN24 news channel after visiting the scene late Friday.

    The train derailed in the village of Baby, near the central city of Piotrkow Trybunalski, with the engine and three of the train's carriages going off the tracks, police spokeswoman Ewa Drozdz said.

    British journalist Kamil Tchorek told Al Jazeera that "it was possible the country's ageing railway system may have been to blame".

    Tchorek said a lot of the country's tracks "are still very old indeed and much of the EU money coming into Poland to develop the lines is yet to be properly used."

    "Travel by train remains widely popular and is a much better way of getting around the country as compared to the roads which are notoriously dangerous," he said.

    A passenger, Marcin Chlebowski, told TVN24 that the train started to slow suddenly and that he then felt a jolt.

    The train was running on a special low-fare service operated by the state railway company, PKP.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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