Brussels: At least three people have been killed and nine injured in a high-speed train crash in eastern Belgium.
A fast-moving passenger train slammed into the back of a goods train on the same track on Sunday night, Frédéric Sacré, a spokesman for Belgian railway infrastructure manager Infrabel, said.
Nine passengers were injured to varying degrees, with some described as being in a critical condition by authorities during a press briefing near the crash scene.
The train was travelling eastwards on the Namur-Liège line when the accident occurred in Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse area at 11pm local time (9pm GMT).
“The passenger train is really in a bad way, it’s stunning,” said Francis Dejon, mayor of Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse. “The front carriage is scrunched back up on itself. We were very lucky not to have more victims,” he told the Belga news agency.
“Two of the six carriages derailed and are lying on the tracks,” Infrabel and the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB) said in a joint statement.
The front carriage was completely turned on its side, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
Belga said the collision had been “very violent”, adding that fire and police services had been despatched from Liėge, with several passengers having to be extracted from the wreckage.
A passenger on board described the scene as “chaos” to the local daily newspaper L’Avenir, saying the front two carriages had been destroyed.
The accident’s circumstances were not immediately clear, with questions remaining over whether the passenger train was able to brake before the crash.
“The priority is to care for the victims,” Infrabel and SNCB said, but added that information was already being analysed to determine how the crash took place.
A crisis centre was establiched at the scene.
In February 2010, 18 people were killed and 95 injured when two trains collided in a Brussels suburb in one of Europe’s deadliest railway accidents of the past decade.
More recently, one person was killed and nearly 50 injured when a train carrying highly toxic chemicals derailed and exploded near Ghent in May 2013.