A heap of twisted metal was all that left of the engine and first six carriages of an express train which slammed into a bridge as it was collapsing in the Czech Republic. The authorities said seven people were killed, five of them women, and 67 were injured when the train hit the road bridge which was being re-built. It was travelling at around 140 kilometres an hour.
Rescuers spent hours cutting victims free from the wreckage of the EuroCity train which was heading for the Czech capital Prague from the Polish city of Krakow when the crash happened, near the eastern town of Studenka.
One survivor blamed the bridge builders saying: “It fell down, they nearly killed everyone.” Another passenger said: “There was a woman with a child trapped in our carriage.”
The train’s driver said that as he approached the bridge he saw part of it was falling and slammed on the emergency brakes, but could only slow the train down. He jumped out of his cab and into the engine room to survive with only minor injuries.
The train was carrying about 400 people at the time, including a group of people heading for a concert in Prague by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Ten hospitals treated the injured who were ferried there in ambulances and by helicopter. An investigation has begun into why the bridge collapsed.