Two commuter trains collided head-on at high speed in Italy on Tuesday.
The crash happened on a single-track near the town of Andria in the Puglia region of southern Italy.
At least 20 people have died and 50 others injured, according to the regional heath authority.
The Local reports:
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Police commander Pasquale Casieri, charged with coordinating the incident’s crisis unit, said there were “a few foreigners among the wounded.”
Eighteen of the 50 reported to be injured 18 are in a critical condition. Hospitals have issued an urgent call for blood donors.
“We need blood group 0,” Giuseppe Corrado, president of Barletta-Andria-Trani province, said. The injured have been taken to hospitals in Andria, Barletta and Bisceglie.
People are still trapped in the wreckage of the crash, which was caused when two four-carriage long trains collided on a stretch of track between the towns of Ruvo di Puglia and Corato on the Bari North line at around 11.30am.
Families of the passengers are beginning to arrive at the scene of the crash near the town of Andria, near Bari.
The victims were reported to have been travelling in the front two carriages of each train.
“Some of the carriages are utterly crumpled and the rescue services are pulling people out, many are wounded,” Riccardo Zingaro, head of traffic police in Andria, told journalists from the scene.
In one carriage, rescue workers reportedly found a young child who has been taken to hospital via helicopter.
The trains were carrying many commuters, students and travellers making their way to Bari’s Palese airport.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi interrupted a speech in Milan to express his grief for the victims of the disaster.
“We won’t rest until we understand how this happened,” he added, saying he would return immediately to Rome.
Puglia President Michele Emiliano tweeted that he was on his way to the scene of the crash.
Scontro treni in Puglia: Il presidente Emiliano si sta recando sul posto della tragedia. (Staff)
— Michele Emiliano (@micheleemiliano) July 12, 2016
Investigators are looking into the cause of the disaster, but say it might have been down to human error. One of the trains was supposed to wait for a green light before heading down the track.
apriamo una commissione di inchiesta tecnica del @mitgov sull’incidente ferroviario #Puglia pic.twitter.com/tL7ycWRRuD
— Graziano Delrio (@graziano_delrio) July 12, 2016
“We need to shed full light on this unacceptable tragedy,” said Italian President Sergio Mattarella in a statement.
“We must swiftly discover how this happened and determine where the responsibility lies and any eventual shortcomings.”
This is the third deadliest rail crash in Italy within the last 11 years.
In January 2005, 17 people died when a passenger and cargo train collided in fog at Crevalcore while travelling between Bologna and Verona.
And in June 2009, 32 people were killed in the Tuscan town of Viareggio when a freight train carrying liquid gas derailed and exploded, causing fires which destroyed some 100 homes.
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