Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Train crash in DC

District of Columbia Fire and Emergency workers at the site of a collision between two trains in Washington, DC on Monday. -- PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON - TWO subway trains slammed into each other on Monday killing four people, injuring scores more and left passengers trapped as one train was thrust on top of the other during Washington's evening rush hour, officials said.

Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, giving the number of those killed, called the crash the deadliest in the history of the city?s 'Metro' train subway system. The city's fire chief said 70 people had been treated for injuries so far.

Television images showed at least two carriages of one train had been lifted off the ground and had mounted the other train, partially crushing at least one carriage below on an above-ground section of the line in northeast Washington.

A Metro official confirmed that one of the dead was a driver of one of the trains, but she did not release the victim's name.

NBC television's local affiliate said there were reports of more than 100 injuries, as it showed live images of emergency responders stretchering injured passengers down the train tracks.

The collision occurred at 5.00 pm (2100 GMT, 5am Singapore time) near the Fort Totten Metro station close to the District of Columbia's borderline with the state of Maryland. If was not immediately clear if it had been a head-on collision.

'A six-car Red Line train... was involved in a collision with another train at 5:00 pm today,' the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said in a statement.

Washington Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesman Alan Etter told a local ABC television news station the incident was 'developing into a mass casualty event.'

Emergency workers were seen battling to lever up the raised carriages and using equipment to cut through the carriages' outer shell to get to where commuters were believed to be trapped inside.

Dozens of stunned passengers, safely evacuated from the train, were standing by the train tracks close to the collision site, or were being helped down off the other carriages by rescue workers. Some were limping and were clearly hurt. -- AFP

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