Six dead, 20 hurt in train crash

A train derailed in a remote area of southern Croatia today killing six people and injuring at least 20, officials said.

The high-speed train - travelling from Zagreb, Croatia's capital, to the city of Split - derailed in a remote, hilly area at about noon, 20 miles from its destination, emergency official Darko Marinkovic said.

The impact nearly broke one of its two cars in half, leaving a gruesome tangle of metal, seats, blood and passengers' possessions. It was carrying about 90 passengers at the time.

Six people were killed and at least 20 injured, said Marina Kraljevic Gudelj, the spokeswoman for the Split police. Helicopters raced to the scene to carry the injured to local hospitals.

The cause of the derailment was being investigated.

The train is used by many Croatians travelling to the coast on summer breaks, and it was not immediately known if any of the passengers were foreigners.

One injured passenger, Zarko Rogan, a 71-year-old retiree from Zagreb, said the train seemed to be travelling too fast before the accident.

"I told my wife: we have a problem, this train's brakes don't work," he said.

Split Hospital, where he and other wounded passengers were taken, appealed to citizens to donate blood.

Zoran Popovac, the head of Croatian Railways, refused during an interview on Croatian state-run TV to speculate about what might have caused the accident, and whether the country's heatwave could have been a factor.

"I won't speculate about that at the moment," he said.

It was up to 40 degrees Celsius in Croatia today.

Reporters at the scene said the crash occurred several yards from a 66ft-deep chasm in the landscape.