14 killed as gas train derails, explodes in Italy

 At least 14 people were killed and 50 injured overnight in Italy when a freight train hauling liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded as it passed their homes, officials said on Tuesday.

About 1,000 people were evacuated following the blast just before midnight on Monday in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio, about 350 km north of Rome.

Thirty-seven people were seriously injured, with 16 of them in critical condition, including a two-year-old who was badly burned and was being transferred to a hospital in Florence, rescue workers said.

It was Italy’s most deadly rail accident since 17 people were killed in January 2005, when a passenger train collided with a freight train near the northern city of Bologna.
“The emergency and danger are not over. The area has been sealed off and search and rescue operations are going on,” said Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy’s civil protection agency.

“We have a convoy with four train wagons that are still carrying liquefied petroleum and are off the tracks, on their sides... so the area is still at a really high risk level because the fire is still smouldering.”

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