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
French Train Crash Blamed on Faulty Rail Joint
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)

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. (More derailment stories.)

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