Tilting train derails in Croatia, six dead

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Croatian Railways tilting train of the same type as the one involved in the accident

A Croatian train en route from the capital, Zagreb, to the Dalmatian city of Split crashed, killing six and wounding 40, according to medical authorities. The incident occurred 12:08 pm (1008 GMT), when the two-carriage tilting train derailed near the town of Kaštela, outside Split. 91 passengers were reported to be aboard the train at the time of the disaster, including foreign tourists. Among the injured are: 18 Croatian, 6 French, 2 Australian, 3 Swedish and four others; a Belgian, British, Slovenian and Pakistani national.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but passengers claim that the speed of the train was excessive. Other reports say railway workers put anti-weed ointment on the tracks before the accident, making them slippery.

Shortly after the crash, a railway works vehicle coming to the site of the accident, also reportedly in excessive speed, nearly hit emergency workers and reporters. No one was injured in the incident, but was filmed by a TV crew.

Croatian media say that this is the worst railway accident to have occurred in independent Croatia, adding that if the train derailed into a ravine, which is several meters ahead, the death toll could have been much higher.