The Luxury Rhine Express from the Hook of Holland crashed head-on into a local commuter train at Schiedam, near Rotterdam on Tuesday (4 May), killing 24 people including several school children.
The Luxury Rhine Express from the Hook of Holland crashed head-on into a local commuter train at Schiedam, near Rotterdam on Tuesday (4 May), killing 24 people including several school children. Dozens were injured.
Dutch Railway officials said the Express was without a driver at the time of the crash. On realising that disaster was inevitable on the single track, he slammed on the brakes and leapt to safety from the Express seconds before the impact.
Another local passenger train on the same line between Rotterdam and the ferry port at the Hook hit the first commuter train in the rear but was not badly damaged. It also had many school children aboard but they were unhurt.
A Railway spokesman said the 10-carriage express, on its way from picking up North Sea ferry boat passengers going to Innsbruck in Austria, was scarcely damaged and none of its passengers was injured.
Its diesel locomotive ploughed into the slowly oncoming commuter train packed with hundreds of school children and morning rush-hour travellers.
The spokesman said the express, behind schedule due to a delay at the ferry port, rammed into the commuter train apparently because of a mistake in points switching.
Scores of ambulances from half a dozen nearby towns rushed to the scene while firemen cut their way through the tangled wreckage with acetylene torches to free trapped passengers.
The injured were taken to a hastily-evacuated local school where a team of doctors and surgeons from Rotterdam quickly set up a first-aid centre.