In the modern age, it's probably every parent's worst nightmare. A phone call to say your child is involved in an accident, then no further contact...
That's what one couple from the city of Crema, Italy, says happened to them on Thursday (January 25). They were at the crash site of the derailed train on the outskirts of the Italian financial capital, desperately searching for news.
"She said, 'mum, help, the train is going off the rails'. She didn't say anything else, she was so frightened. And now she's not answering the phone anymore."
Witnesses say the train shook for several minutes prior to derailing. Some of the wounded have been carried away on stretchers, some bundled into helicopters to be flown to hospital.
Investigators are working to find out what happened. The train's operator, Trenord, claims it was travelling at a normal speed at the time of the derailment. Police say they are looking into a possible problem with the track.
The President of Lombardia Regional Council, Raffaele Cattaneo, was on the scene.
"We still need to understand what happened. There is one aspect that is already clear: this was not a collision between trains. It was a train that came off the tracks by itself. And because of this it caused the situation seen here.
"A train can derail for just two reasons: either through a structural collapse of the track; or through collapse of the train. This is the first thing that needs to be cleared up."