Three passengers, all women, were killed and another 40 injured when a six-carriage commuter train derailed (pictured: Photo: Italian Fire Service) near Milan in northern Italy during rush hour on Thursday, emergency services said.
While the death toll was initially put at two, it was later revised to three. The dead were identified as Pierangela Tadini, 51, of Vanzago, Giuseppina Pirri, 39, of Cernusco sul Naviglio, and Ida Maddalena Milanesi, 62, of Caravaggio.
By 10 am, rescue workers pulled out all passengers trapped in the wreckage, firefighters said.
The train, bound for Porta Garibaldi, derailed at 7 am between Segrate and Pioltello. Most the passengers on board were commuters going to work in Italy’s commercial capital.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. Milan’s public prosecutor ordered an investigation into the incident.
Milan’s police chief Marcello Cardona told La Stampa that technicians investigating the incident had “identified a breakdown between carriages” but said further investigations were underway to ascertain what really happened.
Only the cars in the middle of the train derailed suggesting that the accident may have been caused by a malfunctioning railway switch.
While survivors were evacuated, those seriously injured were given first aid in a field near the accident site. Others were transported to hospital via road or helicopter.
The accident led to delay in rail and car traffic in the area.
Trenord, responsible for the operation of regional passenger trains in Lombardy, was criticised on social media for describing the rail accident as a technical ‘problem’ (‘inconveniente’).
Some 23 people were killed in 2016 when a high-speed collided with another in the southern Puglia region.