News ID: 103467
Publish Date : 08 June 2022 - 21:49

TEHRAN — A passenger train traveling through eastern Iran struck an excavator and nearly half its cars derailed before dawn on Wednesday, killing at least 21 people and injuring 87, officials said.
The train, operated by the Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI), carried some 350 people as it traveled from the desert town of Tabas, some 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Tehran, to the city of Yazd. The route had begun as an overnight train out of Iran’s holy city of Mashhad.
Based on images after the crash, it appeared the train’s locomotive passed the excavator and the later cars somehow hit the digger and caused the derailment, though authorities did not immediately explain how the disaster happened in the rural area near a railway bridge.
“Passengers were bouncing in the car like balls in the air,” one unnamed injured passenger told Iranian national television.
Rescue teams with ambulances and helicopters arrived in the remote area where communication is poor. Ministers of interior and road traveled to the site of the accident. Over a dozen people suffered critical injuries, with some transferred to local hospitals, officials said.
Aerial footage of the desert site of the disaster showed train cars on their side, with some rescuers running at the scene as they tried to care for those injured.
National TV later aired images from a hospital where the injured received treatment. One of those injured told the broadcaster they felt the train suddenly brake and then slow before the derailment.
The incident happened some 50 kilometers (30 miles) outside of Tabas.
The report said the crash is under investigation. Initial reports suggested the train collided with an excavator near the track. One official suggested it could have been part of a repair project.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi offered condolences over the crash and announced an investigation
would be undertaken into its causes. Thursday was declared as a day of mourning in Yazd.
Iran’s worst train disaster came in 2004, when a runaway train loaded with gasoline, fertilizer, sulfur and cotton crashed near the historic city of Neyshabur, killing some 320 people, injuring 460 others and damaging five villages. In 2016, a train collision in northern Iran killed at least 43 people and injured about 100.
Iran has some 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles) of railway lines throughout the country. Its rail system sends both people and goods across the country, particularly in rural areas.
The country has been mourning the deaths of at least 41 people killed in a building collapse in May in the city of Abadan in the country’s southwest.

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