One killed, 30 injured in train accident in Netherlands

One killed, 30 injured in train accident in Netherlands
At least one person was killed and 30 injured, many seriously, when a passenger train carrying about 50 people derailed in the Netherlands early on Tuesday after hitting a construction crane, officials said.

Rescue teams were seen ferrying away the injured in pre-dawn darkness at the scene of the accident at Voorschoten, a village near The Hague. The accident happened around 3:25 a.m., emergency services said. Nineteen people were taken to hospital. Others were being treated on the spot, the emergency services said. Dutch Railways official Carola Belderbos said the train collided with the crane and the injured included the driver and two conductors.

The front carriage of the night train from Leiden city to The Hague derailed, emergency services said. The second carriage was on its side and a fire broke out in the rear carriage but was extinguished, it said.

Earlier reports said the passenger train had collided with a freight train. Dutch Railways spokesperson Erik Kroeze said a freight train carrying chalk was involved in the accident but could not give details.

Jeroen Wienen of Prorail, which maintains the rails, said several investigations had been initiated, including by the company itself, the police and the Dutch Safety Board, which looks into serious accidents.

"Fortunately enough this is a very, very unique accident, but it's a horrible accident," Wienen told Reuters at the site of the accident.

"We at Prorail are doing the investigation primarily to see what happened and how we can avoid this in the future," he said, adding: "everybody's really shaken up."

Dutch Railways said in a tweet that trains between Leiden and parts of The Hague were cancelled due to the accident.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Netherlands' royal family were among those who expressed their sympathy for the victims.

"My thoughts are with the relatives and with all the victims. I wish them all the best," Rutte said in a tweet. "We deeply sympathize with all of them," King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said.
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