At least seventeen killed, seventy injured in train crash in Tunisia
At least 17 people were killed and 70 injured when a rush hour passenger train hit a lorry and derailed at an unmarked crossing south of Tunis Tuesday morning, officials said.
Most of the dead were passengers on the train, which hit the lorry around 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the capital, the transport ministry said.
“The toll is currently 17 dead and around 70 injured,” Mongi Khadhi, a spokesman for the emergency services told AFP.
An initial report had put the number killed at 14.
The interior ministry said the train was en route to Tunis from Gaafour, 120 kilometers to the southwest.
The collision happened near El Fahes at around 6:30 a.m. (0530 GMT).
Transport Minister Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, who initially blamed both the train and lorry driver for going too fast, said the accident happened because there was no barrier at the crossing.
“The main cause of the accident is the non-existence of a barrier ... and protection at the crossing,” he told radio Shems-FM.
“In Tunisia, there are 1,150 rail crossings. Only 250 are equipped with signal posts and barriers and only 150 have lights. This is insufficient.”
An AFP journalist confirmed that there were no markings at the crossing, near the village of Tabika.
Train crashes are common in Tunisia, where much of the rail network is dilapidated, but Tuesday’s accident was the deadliest in recent memory.
The presidency said it had called for an inquiry “to determine the cause of this catastrophe.”
Tunisians surround the carriages of a train after it derailed following a collision with a truck, killing at least 17 people near the town of El Fahes, some 60 kilometers south of the Tunisian capital, Tunis on Tuesday, June 16.