Poland: Train crash death toll rises to 16

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Poland: Train crash death toll rises to 16

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The death toll from Poland’s worst rail crash in two decades has risen to 16.

Dozens more people were injured when two express trains travelling on the same track collided head-on at high speed in the south of the country.

Officials said more bodies could be found as heavy machinery began pulling apart the wreckage on the Warsaw to Krakow mainline.

Visiting the crash site near the town of
Szczekociny, President Bronislaw Komorowski said he would announce a period of national mourning and that victims came from different Polish cities and abroad.

Reports say one of those killed has been identified as an American women. Ukrainian, French and Spanish citizens were also travelling on the trains.

Of the estimated 350 people on board, nearly 60 were injured, some seriously.

“There was a crash. The lights went out and everything started to fly,” said survivor Piotr Sikora, 45, from his hospital bed. “The carriage bent like an accordion and our legs, mine and the person next to me, were stuck very deep between seats which are normally a metre apart.”

An investigation is underway to try to establish why one of the trains was on the wrong side of the track. Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that while it is too early to speculate, human error cannot be ruled out.