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Train derailment near Bolzano kills at least nine

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-12

A train derailed near the northern Italian town of Bolzano after it was hit by a landslide on Monday, killing at least 9 people, firefighters said.

REUTERS - At least nine people were killed and 28 injured in northern Italy on Monday when a landslide derailed a local train carrying commuters and students near the Alpine city of Bolzano.

Scores of rescue workers dug bodies by hand from the wreckage after tonnes of rock and mud swept the front carriage of the train into a steep gorge between the towns of Castelbello and Laces at around 9 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Only a line of trees prevented the train from being swept into the River Adige below. The injured were ferried to local hospitals by helicopter.

"There are nine confirmed victims, while 28 people have been injured, seven of them seriously," said Luis Durnwalder, governor of the German-speaking Bolzano-Bozen province, adding that the death toll could rise.

Thomas Widmann, transport adviser to the provincial government, said the landslide appeared to have been caused by an irrigation pipe that had burst a few days earlier, soaking the hillside above the track.

Investigators are studying a data recorder recovered from the wreckage. The line was one of the most modern in the wealthy Trentino-Alto Adige region, and was inaugurated in 2005.

Trentino-Alto Adige is a largely German-speaking autonomous region with a thriving economy built on agriculture and wine-making, industry and services, particularly tourism.

Date created : 2010-04-12