Italy train crash: Three killed in derailment near Milan

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Media caption,

A rescue operation is under way to remove passengers from the debris

A packed commuter train has derailed near the northern Italian city of Milan, leaving at least three people dead and around 10 seriously injured.

Several people were rescued from the wreckage of the carriages that derailed next to the Pioltello Limito station in the morning rush hour.

The cause of the accident is not yet clear but a collapse of the rail track is under investigation.

Witnesses said the train trembled for a few minutes before the accident.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Firefighters are battling to free passengers from the debris
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The train derailed at Pioltello Limito station

The Trenord train, carrying some 250 people, was heading to Milan's Porta Garibaldi station from Cremona when it derailed at about 07:00 local time (06:00 GMT).

The train was travelling at normal speed when the accident happened, a spokesperson for Trenord told Reuters news agency. Services in the area were halted for hours.

The identities of the victims have not been confirmed, but Italian media report that they are all women.

"A train can derail for only two reasons; either through a structural collapse of the track or a collapse of the train. This is the first thing that needs to be cleared up," said Raffaele Cattaneo, president of the regional council.

RFI, which manages the rail network, said there was a rupture in the track but that it was unclear whether this was a cause or a consequence of the accident.

"The rail track collapse was detected 2.3km [1.4 miles] before the spot of the accident... but it is premature to establish the dynamics of the accident," said regional director Vincenzo Macello.

Italy's deadly train accidents

July 2016: Two trains collided on a single track in Puglia, killing 23 people

November 2012: Six people believed to be Romanian farm workers are killed after a van they were travelling in is struck by a train as it crosses railway tracks in Calabria

June 2009: Freight train carrying liquefied petroleum gas derails in Viareggio, causing a large explosion. More than 30 people die

January 2005: A head-on collision between a passenger and a freight train near Crevalcore kills 17

July 2002: A passenger train derails in Rometta Messina, killing eight people

April 1978: Two trains collide near a ravine next to Murazze Vado. Some of the carriages fall into the gorge, killing 42

Sources: Ansa, Corriere della Sera