PARIS — A problem with a steel clip appears to have caused the French train accident Friday that resulted in at least six deaths, according to the French rail company SNCF.
The clip, located on a switch some 200 yards from a train station, "broke away, became detached and came out of its housing," said Pierre Izard, SNCF's general manager for infrastructure. The switch enables trains to change tracks.
That likely led the intercity train bound from Paris to Limoges to derail outside the Bretigny-sur-Orge train station, about 12 miles south of the capital. Officials said 22 people were seriously injured, two of whom remained in critical condition Saturday.
On Saturday, SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said the faulty switch, "constitutes the initial cause of the derailing," but ongoing investigations were needed for further details. As a result, 5,000 similar clips were being checked for safety, according to the railroad company. Just 30 minutes before the crash, another train had passed over the same tracks without any incident.