Freak train crash leaves 48 reindeer dead


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The Independent Online

A train has collided with a herd of reindeer in northern Sweden leaving 48 of the animals dead, with a rancher commenting that "it wasn't pretty to see".

The horrific incident took place on Saturday near the village of Kaitum in Sweden's Laponia region.

The reindeer tried in vain to outrun the speeding train, according to transport officials, but instinctively ran along the tracks and were crushed.

"If you follow a reindeer in a car, for instance, it will tend to run in front of the car, it won't go to one side," regional transport official in charge of maintenance, Fredrik Rosendahl, explained to AFP. "So just imagine what happens with a train that needs more than a kilometre to come to a stop."

A local rancher who witnessed the collision, Ingmar Blind, commented: "It wasn't pretty to see."

Reindeer are important to the livelihood of many in remote parts of Sweden, and while this incident was unique in terms of the number that perished, herders have been warning of the consequences of increased rail traffic in the region for some time.

A new high-speed train was previously compared to a meat grinder by one herder, after it killed an estimated 200 reindeer in 2012.