Eight bodies found in Sicily train crash

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The Independent Online

Italian rescuers recovered eight bodies, including the driver, from the mangled wreckage of an express train which derailed in Sicily, officials said yesterday.

Italian rescuers recovered eight bodies, including the driver, from the mangled wreckage of an express train which derailed in Sicily, officials said yesterday.

The cause of the accident, which left more than 40 injured, was unclear, but police said a 300-metre section of track close to the wreckage appeared to be damaged. One hypothesis was that the ballast under the track gave way.

Earlier on Saturday, police had reported that the seven-carriage train had crashed into a bridge but later said it had crashed into an empty building after it had derailed.

A family of four of Moroccan origin and a Sicilian woman aged about 24 who lived in Germany are believed to be among the victims, they said. Two children, aged six and eight, who were part of the Moroccan family, survived the crash.

The train, heading to Venice from Palermo with 190 passengers on board, came off the tracks at about 7pm on Saturday near the station of Rometta, a town west of Messina.

One female passenger said: "I remember confusion, the scene was terrifying. The luggage was falling on all sides, then screaming, fear. I escaped out a window and then helped others to escape."

As rescue teams worked through the night, looking for trapped passengers and any further victims, three inquiries were launched to discover what caused the disaster. Lawmakers, however, were quick to blame the accident on the ageing railroad network in Italy's poor south, and a history of neglect there by different governments.

Trains travelling between the Mediterranean island and mainland Italy roll on to ferries to sail across the straits separating the city of Messina and the southern toe of Italy.

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