Nine die as landslide derails commuter train in Italy
NINE people were killed when a landslide derailed a commuter train in northern Italy yesterday.
The two-car train, filled with local commuters and students, was passing by at the exact moment that a large irrigation pipe on higher elevation burst near Merano, 300km north of Venice in the Italian Alps.
"A mass of mud and water knocked down the first car into the ditch," said local official Francesca De Carlini.
"All of the dead were in the first car, which was pulled down into the ditch."
She discounted earlier media reports of the possibility of three missing, saying that the death toll was definitive at nine.
There were also 28 injured, including seven hospitalised in serious condition, Ms De Carlini said.
A geologist was examining the terrain, but it was not clear why the pipe burst, she said. A magistrate has begun an investigation into the cause, but the rupture didn't appear to be due to cold weather.
Ms De Carlini said that the accident occurred shortly after 9am and that help arrived within a few minutes. Helicopters, ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene.
The train had been nearing its destination of Merano after departing from the small town of Malles. The train line runs between the Adige river and mountains.
The accident is the biggest in Italy since 31 people died in June 2009 in the Tuscan city of Viareggio, after liquefied petroleum gas spilled by a derailed freight train exploded at a railway station.