Landslide kills nine on train in Italy

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A landslide crashed into a small commuter train in the Italian Alps today killing nine people.

The two-carriage train, filled with local commuters and students, was passing by at the exact moment that a large irrigation pipe above it burst.

"A mass of mud and water knocked down the first carriage into the ditch," said a fire service spokeswoman.

"All of the dead were in the first carriage, which was pulled down into the ditch.

She confirmed the death toll was nine and 28 were injured, seven of them seriously.

A geologist was examining the terrain, outside the town of Bolzano near the border with Austria, but it was not clear why the pipe burst.

The accident on the line, that runs between the Adige river and mountains, happened shortly after 9am local time.

Help arrived within a few minutes. Helicopters, ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue survivors.

The train had been nearing its destination of Merano, about 180 miles north of Venice, after departing from the small town of Malles.