Train accident in Iran: At least 17 people died in a train derailment

The incident happened in the early hours of the morning near a remote desert town (Image: AFP)

At least 17 people have been killed and more than 50 injured when a passenger train derailed in Iran early this morning.

Local authorities warned that the death toll could rise after the disaster in the east of the country.

Around 350 people are said to have been on board when four of the seven cars derailed in the dark near the remote desert town of Tabas.

The exact cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear, although there was some evidence that it may have crashed into an excavator.

Ambulances, helicopters and other rescue workers have arrived in the area some 340 miles east of the capital Tehran, where communications are poor.

More than a dozen people suffered life-threatening injuries, with some being taken to local hospitals, officials said.

Iranian media quoted Tabas Governor Ali Akbar Rahimi as saying at least 17 people were killed in the crash and the death toll could rise if rescue workers search the train cars.

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Aerial footage of the disaster showed wagons on their side while some rescuers at the scene ran as they tried to tend to the injured.

State television later showed footage from a hospital, where one of the injured told the station he felt the train brake suddenly before derailing and then slow.

The unidentified traveler added: “Passengers bounced in the car like balls in the air.”

The derailment happened about 50 kilometers (30 miles) outside of Tabas on the line connecting it to the central city of Yazd.

It was unclear why an excavator should have been near the track during the night, but an official suggested it may have been part of a repair project.


The train partially derailed near Tabas (Image: AFP)

At least 17 dead in Iran train derailment

Four wagons went off the rails

At least 17 dead in Iran train derailment

One passenger described being thrown “like balls in the air.”

According to the report, the crash is under investigation.

The worst train disaster in Iran occurred in 2004 when a runaway train loaded with gasoline, fertilizer, sulfur and cotton crashed near the historic town of Neyshabur, killing about 320 people, injuring 460 others and damaging five villages.

The country has around 8,700 miles of passenger and freight rail lines.

But Iran also has around 17,000 deaths on its roads annually, one of the worst road safety records in the world.

The high toll is attributed to widespread disregard for traffic rules, unsafe vehicles and inadequate rescue services.

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Justin Scacco

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