20 Dead, Dozens Injured After Trains Collide In Italy, Officials Say

This is what is left of two commuters trains after a head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia in Italy.  AP
This is what is left of two commuters trains after a head-on collision in the southern region of Puglia in Italy. AP

At least 20 people were killed and dozens more were injured Tuesday when two commuter trains slammed into each other in southern Italy, local authorities said.

The four-car trains collided head-on near the town of Andria in Puglia, where trains operate on single tracks, authorities said. Firefighters were working to extract more people from the twisted metal of the first cars on each train, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Giuseppe Corrado, deputy head of Andria Province, told ANSA that 20 people were killed. Four of the injured were in critical condition, he said.

“Some of the cars are completely crumpled and the rescuers are extracting people from the metal, many of them injured,” local police chief Riccardo Zingaro told Sky News.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the crash “a moment of tears” and pledged to make sure investigators determine the cause of the tragedy, the Associated Press reported. Renzi cut short a visit to Milan and was expected to visit the crash site Tuesday night.

More than 30 people were injured, ANSA said. Three were taken by helicopter to a hospital in Barletta, local public health authorities said. Scheduled surgeries were postponed and off-duty medical staff were brought in to deal with the crisis.

Rescuers set up a field hospital at the scene to help care for the large number of wounded passengers. One of those rescued from the wreckage was a small child who was airlifted to hospital, BBC said.

The trains were owned by the private regional rail company Ferrotramviaria, based in the Adriatic Sea port city of Bari. The company, whose service connects several area municipalities and the Bari airport, owns more than 20 trains, according to its website.

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SOURCE: USA Today – John Bacon and Jane Onyanga-Omara