Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Spain 'goes nuclear' on Catalonia

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton says Trump 'channels' racism

Read more

THE DEBATE

Moment of truth: Spain sets in motion direct rule over Catalonia

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Must it come down? Market analysts bracing for correction

Read more

FOCUS

Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto to vote on autonomy

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France considers tough new laws to crack down on sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Inside the new Yves Saint Laurent museum in Morocco

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

California: When your home is reduced to ashes

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

#balancetonporc: Sexual harassment and gender inequality in France

Read more

Europe

French train hits fallen tree in country's south, several injured

© Sylvain Thomas / AFP | Rescuers gather around the scene of a train crash in Saint-Aunes near the French city of Montpellier on August 17, 2016

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-08-17

Eight people were seriously hurt in southern France Wednesday when an express train crashed into a fallen tree uprooted by a massive hailstorm, rescue workers said.

The impact sparked panic, as some passengers feared a jihadist attack was underway, according to one witness.

The regional express was carrying 219 passengers on a service between Nimes and Montpellier when it hit the tree at 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour, the state rail operator SNCF said.

The accident occurred near the town of Lunel, about 28 km southwest of Nimes.
 

A critically-injured individual was airlifted to hospital, according to the head of local rescue services, Christophe Risdorfer. Fifty other passengers suffered minor injuries or shock.

"We were on the train when hailstones the size of ping-pong balls started falling, then we heard what sounded like an explosion," said a 24-year-old passenger from Luxembourg who gave her name as Justine.

"The train shook for a few seconds and then I saw some people whose heads were covered in blood."

Another passenger said some people on the train feared a jihadist attack was unfolding.

A string of terror assaults in Europe in recent months has left the continent on edge.

"There was panic, some at first thought it was an attack on the train," said the 35-year-old woman named Virginie.

SNCF said around 80 rescue workers, backed by helicopters, were deployed to the scene, where "access is very difficult."

The tree was a "very tall pine" located on private property next to the railway line, the company said.

Despite the impact, the train did not derail and traffic was expected to resume later Wednesday on one of the tracks of the line.

(AFP)

Date created : 2016-08-17

  • FRANCE

    Eurostar, Thalys resume train service at Gare du Nord in Paris after fire

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Passenger trains in Italy crash head-on in deadly collision

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Ten dead as French high-speed train derails during test run

    Read more

COMMENT(S)