x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Washington train crash kills seven

Two Metrorail trains collide at the height of Washington's evening rush hour, killing seven people and injuring 76.

Two Metrorail trains collided yesterday at the height of Washington's evening rush hour, killing seven people and injuring 76 in the worst-ever accident in the US capital's subway system, officials said. Hundreds of emergency crews rushed to the chaotic scene in north-east Washington, where one train rammed into a stationary train on the same track, compressing the rear car of the lead train. The city's mayor Adrian Fenty confirmed there were nine deaths but warned the toll could rise in what he described as "the deadliest accident in the (33-year) history of our Metro train transit system."

The collision involving the six-compartment trains on an above-ground portion of the popular Red Line took place just after 5pm local time near the Fort Totten Metro station, said the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) general manager John Catoe. Rescue teams were seen carrying injured passengers on stretchers down the tracks and using heavy equipment to cut through the carriages' outer shell in an effort to get to those inside.

Among the dead was the female operator of the second train that rammed into the first as it awaited orders to proceed along the tracks, Mr Catoe said. "The next train came up behind it and for reasons we do not know ploughed into the back of the train," he added. The accident will raise serious questions among investigators just nine months after the last major US train crash. Last September, 25 people were killed when the conductor of a commuter train in Los Angeles was sending text messages on his mobile phone while at the controls.

Abra Jeffers, 25, who was heading home from his first day of work, said: "I was on the train that got hit. I thought it was an explosion. "There was smoke and dust everywhere." President Barack Obama said he and the first lady were "saddened" by the crash. *AFP