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One dead after train derails in Belgium

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-05 03:25

BRUSSELS - One person died and 17 others were injured when a cargo train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near the northwestern Belgian city of Ghent on Saturday, local media reported.

Previous reports said two people were killed and 14 others were injured in the accident. But local officials revised the number later in the same day while continuing investigating the cause of the incident.

The train, bound for Ghent-Zeehaven from the Netherlands, derailed between the towns of Schellebelle and Wetteren at about 2:00 am (0000 GMT), some 20 km east of Ghent.

The accident caused a fire and then several explosions in the railway cars.

Some 300 people were evacuated from their homes near the spot of the accident.

Train services between Brussels and Ghent will close for at least two days on Saturday and Sunday, said railway authority.

The train was reportedly carrying a variety of chemicals and toxic raw materials on board. At least one of the 12 carriages were carrying cyanide, a highly toxic material.

Firefighters are letting the blaze to burn itself out as putting out the fire with water could disperse toxic materials.

Residents within a radius of 1,000 meters around the scene of the accident have been warned to shut their windows and stay indoors.

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