Tuesday 21 January 2020

25 feared dead as trains collide head-on

The two commuter trains collided head-on during rush hour. Photo: PA
The two commuter trains collided head-on during rush hour. Photo: PA
Emergency services attend the scene of the train crash near Brussels. Photo: PA
Early reports suggest that 20 people have been killed in the accident. Photo: PA

Belgian rail officials say two commuter trains collided head-on at rush hour in a Brussels suburb on Monday, killing as many as 25 people. Other officials said the death toll was lower.

Belgian National Railways told the VRT radio network that 25 people had died. The suburb's mayor said the death toll was 20. Lodewijk De Witte, governor of the province of Flemish Brabant, told VRT that 10 people were killed.

The trains collided in light snow just outside of the station at Buizingen around 8.30am (0730GMT).

"It was a nightmare," said Christian Wampach, 47, who was in the third car of the Brussels-bound commuter train.

Mr Wampach said: "We were thrown about for about 15 seconds. There were number of people injured in my car but I think all the dead were in the first car."

Television reports showed that the force of the collision pushed the first car of each train up off the tracks. The cars ended up resting against each other.

Kristien Berckmans, a Belgian railways spokeswoman, said: "There was considerable damage and several people were injured."

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash.

Railway authorities said the accident caused great damage to overhead power lines in the station.

Rail traffic from Brussels to southwestern Belgium was halted.

PA Media

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