World / Europe

Italy's head-on train collision leaves at least 25 dead, 50 injured

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-13 09:03
Italy's head-on train collision leaves at least 25 dead, 50 injured

Rescuers stand at the site where two passenger trains collided in the middle of an olive grove in the southern village of Corato, near Bari, Italy, July 12, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

ROME -- A dramatic head-on crash between two trains, one the most serious accidents in Italy in recent years, has left at least 25 victims and more than 50 injured, according to local press.

The accident happened at around 11:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, when one train hit another going the other way on a single-track railway in a countryside area between the towns of Ruvo di Puglia and Corato in Puglia region.

Both trains had four carriages. The first aerial photograph from firefighters showed the twisted metal of the first two carriages on each train, with wreckage strewn across a large area.

"It was a frightful, unbelievable scene," one of the first police officers who rushed to the spot was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency. "I saw dead people, others asking for help, people crying. It was the most terrible scene in my life," he added.

The bodies of a mother and her daughter were found holding onto each other in the debris, according to ANSA sources.

"My daughter also was on that train, she was here on a holiday," a woman in tears told Rai state television. "Her cellphone has been disconnected for three hours. I do not know anything about her," she said.

"I was about to irrigate my field when I first heard a siren from the trains, but it was useless because immediately after there was the crash. I saw some girls shouting and crying, and other people coming out of the trains with parts of their body missing," said one of the first witnesses on the scene.

A six-year-old child was the first passenger rescued by firefighters who pulled him out of the debris. The child, named Samuele, was brought to hospital in helicopter and was not in life peril.

Rescue activities were in full swing until late in the evening, but the operations were very complicated because the crash happened in a remote rural area.

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