18 Die in Head-on Belgian Rail Crash; 150 Injured

February 16, 2010

Two commuter trains collided head-on near Brussels yesterday morning, killing 18 people, and injuring another 150, 55 seriously. The crash occurred during the morning rush hour with more than 300 people aboard the trains.

Rescue efforts were hampered by freezing conditions and heavy snowfall.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident, but have not yet revealed their findings. Speculation centers on one of the trains failing to heed, or perhaps failing to see, a signal, which had ordered it to stop.

The crash was exceedingly violent, with one engine coming to rest on top of another. Both the engines and the lead cars of the train were destroyed. They remain in place while the investigations continue.

The crash has disrupted rail services throughout the region. Belgian railway workers have largely followed a strike call in solidarity with the victims, and to protest unsafe conditions.

The accident also blocked inter-European services. The Brussels/London Eurostar has been suspended, and the Thalys high speed train service between Brussels and Paris has been coping with lengthy delays.

Source: news reports

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