At least 23 people have been killed and more than 50 injured in a head-on collision between two trains in the south of Italy, according to rescuers at the scene.
The high-speed collision happened on a slight bend in the track in open countryside and flung the front carriages of both trains into olive groves bordering the line, slinging bits of metal from the wreckage.
Emergency services raced to extract people from the wreckage of smashed carriages thrown across a single track into olive groves near the town of Andria, in what one witness described as an “apocalyptic scene”.
Coffins were taken to the site near the city of Bari to carry away the first of the dead as 200 rescue workers sifted through the wreckage in temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.
“I saw dead people, others who were begging for help, people crying. The worst scene of my life,” one policeman told journalists.
Giancarlo Conticchio, head of the railway police for the region, said more than 40 people were injured, four of them critically.
“We will be working through the night to search the wreckage for survivors or other victims,” he said.
The trains were operated by private railway company Ferrotramviaria — just one of the 30 or so private companies which run on small lines criss-crossing Italy’s network in areas not covered by national operator Trenitalia.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said it was “a moment for tears” and the country would “not stop until we know what happened”.
He was expected to participate at a crisis unit meeting at the Bari prefecture later in the day.
Pope Francis sent his “fervent prayers for those who have tragically died”.
Bakar-Eid being celebrated
POKHARA — The Muslim people people are celebrating their grand festival, Bakar Eid, with much fanfare today.
The festival which is to be continued for three days from today is also known as ‘Eid-Ul-Juha’. The Muslim community considers this as a festival of devotion.
Ali Miya Literary Foundation, Pokhara Chairperson and religious preacher Hanif Miya informed that the festival marked the beginning with the recitation of Islam scripture Nawaz at Idgaha of Pokhara in the early morning today.
The Muslim people who are almost 10,000 in number in Pokhara alone are marking the festival with much excitement, he added.
The Muslims visit the mosques, offer prayers to Allah, perform the Namaj prayers and exchange greetings each others on the occasion.Follow @gorkhapost