French Train Crash Blamed on Faulty Rail Joint

But officials are calling death toll preliminary pending removal of wreckage

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 13, 2013 5:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – An official says a faulty rail joint may have caused yesterday's train derailment outside Paris that left six people dead. Pierre Izard, an official with the SNCF rail company, told reporters that investigators found that the joint had moved from its normal position. Officials said that another train had traveled through the station just before the accident without incident. An investigation will determine why the rail joint, which is part of the switching system that moves trains from one track to another, detached. The train was packed when the accident occurred; France celebrates Bastille Day tomorrow.

Nearly 200 people were injured in the initial crash. But by this morning, Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said only 30 people were still considered injured. But the head of the local regional government said that until an overturned train car is lifted, it was impossible to know if there could be more people trapped under it, calling the current death toll preliminary. "This is only a hypothesis and we hope it's not (the case)," he told reporters. He said special equipment was expected to arrive later today to remove the cars. He added that around nine of the injured were in critical condition.

Police officers investigate on the site where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.
Police officers investigate on the site where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.   (Thibault Camus)
The scene where a train derailed, at the station, in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday, July 12, 2013. A packed passenger train skidded off its rails after leaving Paris on Friday.
The scene where a train derailed, at the station, in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday, July 12, 2013. A packed passenger train skidded off its rails after leaving Paris on Friday.   (Michel Euler)
A victim is evacuated from the site of a train accident in the railway station of Bretigny-sur-Orge, Friday, July 12, 2013 near Paris.
A victim is evacuated from the site of a train accident in the railway station of Bretigny-sur-Orge, Friday, July 12, 2013 near Paris.   (Jacques Brinon)
  (f.duckett)
A rescue helicopters lands after a train derailed in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday July, 12, 2013.
A rescue helicopters lands after a train derailed in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday July, 12, 2013.   (Jacques Brinon)
Rescue workers stand at the scene where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.
Rescue workers stand at the scene where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.   (Michel Euler)
A survivor of the train crash wrapped in a rescue blanket talks to a rescue worker outside a train station where a train derailed in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday July, 12, 2013.
A survivor of the train crash wrapped in a rescue blanket talks to a rescue worker outside a train station where a train derailed in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday July, 12, 2013.   (Michel Euler)
The scene where a train derailed, at the station, in  Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday, July 12, 2013.
The scene where a train derailed, at the station, in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Friday, July 12, 2013.   (Michel Euler)
Railway's employees look at the scene where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.
Railway's employees look at the scene where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny sur Orge, south of Paris, Saturday, July 13, 2013.   (Thibault Camus)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
7%
11%
59%
7%
15%
0%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment