Two dead as train derails in France

By Katie Wilson |

Two people are dead and at least nine others injured after an enormous boulder smashed into a tourist train in France.

The train, known as the Train of the Pines, derailed on Saturday outside the French town of Annot on its way from Nice to Digne-les-Bains on a line which crosses gorges and viaducts at up to 1,000m (3,200ft) above sea level.

Images from the scene show the train was still dangling dramatically from the tracks hours after the accident, the crushed front carriage nose-down in the snowy woods.

Local prosecutor Stephane Kellenberger told AFP news agency that one of the dead was a Russian woman, while the other victim came from the Alps region.

One of the injured is said to be in a critical condition, while the others, including the driver, are reported to have sustained lighter injuries.

Around 30 people were on board when it derailed.

The town’s mayor Jean Ballester said the rock felll from the mountain “with an extraordinary force.”

The uninjured were evacuated to Annot, a little more than half-way through the train route and two rescue helicopters were dispatched to the remote area.

The train travels along the mountains on track that regularly receives snow and rock falls, but regional transport official Jean-Yves Petit said even in winter it is considered safe.

“The track isn’t unusually dangerous,” he said.

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