Trains Collide in Fog Near Warsaw; 16 Killed
A high-speed train plowed into the back of a slow-moving train in thick fog on the outskirts of Warsaw today, killing 16 people and injuring more than 50, officials said.
The force of the collision lifted the last car of the slower train off the track. The engine of the speeding train ripped through the car as it passed underneath.
“It was a macabre sight with the coach standing up, and there was no floor,” said a fire brigade worker who was among the first to arrive at the scene after the 6:20 a.m. crash.
The train was en route from Prague to Warsaw and was moving about 60 m.p.h. when it hit the second train, which was traveling about 9 m.p.h. as it arrived from Szklarska Poreba in southwestern Poland, the Polish Railroad said.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Emergency workers at the scene suggested the engineer of the Prague train may not have seen the signal that caused the first train to slow down.
Forty-three of the injured were hospitalized, the official PAP news agency said.
Virtually all the victims appeared to be on the slower train. One of them, Bogdan Owsiak, told Polish television that most aboard were sleeping when the train was hit.
“I managed to squeeze out through a crack, and only when I fell to the ground did I see one of my legs was broken and I had an open wound,” Owsiak said. “While we were waiting for ambulances we could hear people crying inside the train.”
An American Embassy official at the scene said it did not appear there were any Americans among the dead or injured.