High-speed train derails in France, with multiple passengers injured

High-speed train derails in France, with multiple passengers injured

  • High-speed TGV train linking Strasbourg and Paris derailed at 7.19am Thursday
  • Train struck embankment that had sunken outside village of Ingenheim, Alsace
  • Driver was among the worst injured and airlifted to hospital
  • The train, which was hurtling at 200mph, slid across pebbles after derailing

At least 21 people have been gravely injured after a high-speed TGV train linking Strasbourg and Paris came off the rails in eastern France today.

The accident happened at 7.19am after it struck an embankment that had subsided close to Ingenheim, in Alsace, on the country’s fastest line.

The driver was among the most seriously injured and was airlifted to hospital in a helicopter. There were a total of 348 passengers on board the train, which was travelling at around 200mph before the accident happened.

Within hours of the crash, prosecutors opened a criminal enquiry into the drama.

There were a total of 348 passengers on board the train, which was travelling at around 200mph before the accident happened at 7.19am in Alsace

Hammers were used to crack some windows following the initial impact, before passengers realised they could evacuate via the train doors

‘The driver is in a critical condition, and 20 others are very seriously injured,’ the spokesman explained.

The Strasbourg-Paris line is regularly used by politicians and civil servants travelling to and from the European Parliament.

It follows another derailment on the same line in November 2015 which caused 11 deaths and 42 serious injuries.

Today’s dramatic accident happened first thing on Thursday morning, with a train packed with commuters heading to work. 

The driver was among the most seriously injured and was airlifted to hospital in a helicopter, prosecutors have opened a criminal enquiry into the drama

Hammers were used to crack some windows following the initial impact, before passengers realised they could evacuate via the train doors.

One told France Bleu Alsace radio: ‘It was quite shocking, as if we had tripped over something, then there was an endless glide on the pebbles.

‘Everyone went silent, and we were hanging on to our seats. It was very frightening.’

Another passenger said: ‘It felt like a great shock, as if the train had struck something. The TGV then braked hard. People held hands to reassure one another.’

The LGV East (East European High Speed Line) halved the travel time between Paris and Strasbourg when it was completed in 2016.

The accident happened at 7.19am after the TGV train struck an embankment that had subsided close to Ingenheim, in Alsace, on the country’s fastest line.

Opening of its second phase was delayed after a train derailed during commissioning trials, resulting in the 11 deaths.

It was the first fatal derailment in the history of France’s TGV trains, and the third time a TGV had come off the train since they came into commercial service in 1981.

The fastest ever TGV train reached a top speed of 357.2mph on the LGV East line during testing in April 2007. 

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