Tourists among victims at second deadly train accident in France


How safe is the French railroad system? This is the second fatal train crash in France in the past six months. In July 2013 a passenger train traveling through Bretigny station south of Paris derailed, killing least six people.

Two passengers, one a tourist were killed, among them a Russian citizen, officials said.
A train in the French Alps derailed on Saturday as a falling rock crashed into one of its cars, sending it over the edge of a mountain slope.

Among the dead were a 49-year-old Russian woman and an 82-year-old French woman living in the Alps region. 34 people had been on board the train.

The Russian tourist was traveling with her husband, who was also injured in the accident, the consul of Russia’s diplomatic mission in Marseilles, Daniil Boltaks, told ITAR-TASS by phone.

The husband’s injuries are not serious, though the man is in deep shock The Russian Embassy in France said the dead woman is from Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported.

There are conflicting reports on the number of those injured, varying from five to nine people. One person is reportedly seriously hurt.

The two-carriage train, traveling from the coastal city of Nice, was en route to the town of Digne-les-Bains – the capital of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department – when the accident happened. The train is said to have derailed at around 11:00 a.m. local time between the communes (a level of administrative division in France) of Annet and Saint-Benoit. .

A total of 110 firefighters and 32 vehicles, as well as two helicopters, were immediately sent to the scene. Rescuers with trained dogs have searched the derailed cars to determine whether there are any more victims.

An inspection of the railway section – popular with tourists – was held in mid-January and that the train has been operating since 2011. French minister Cuvillier arrived at the scene of the accident on Saturday afternoon. The president of the regional council of Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, Michel Vauzelle, joined the condolences.