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Train Explosion in Italy Kills 12

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Pisa, ItalyA gas explosion on a freight train in western Italy late Monday has claimed the life of a child and at least 11 others, officials close to the scene have said in a report carried today by CNN. The number of injured in what has been described as a horrific train crash has risen to 36, with 16 in critical condition.

Train ExplosionTwo other children were among the seriously burned. Most injuries are burn injuries, according to officials at the scene.

According to the CNN report the train was carrying tanks of gas as it passed through a station in the coastal town of Viareggio. At 11:45pm Eastern Time Monday night the train suddenly derailed. Four of nine tanker cars turned over and exploded, sending hot orange flames high into the night sky.

The station, together with some nearby buildings caught fire in concert with the inferno. Those buildings were evacuated in an effort to mitigate the injuries.

According to a report by ANSA, the Italian news agency, eyewitnesses described the scene as horrific.

"I heard the explosion," said one witness, who was working at a nearby pharmaceutical company, "and I went out into the street to find myself faced with flames and a motionless, charred body lying on the ground.

'It was a terrifying scene I will never forget. We couldn't do anything for the body except cover it up."

A driver on the train described to ANSA his escape from the engine of the train. "The driver's cabin was filled with gas. (Still), we managed to escape. We are alive. It's a miracle."

Other survivors had to resort to dramatic personal heroics in a simple attempt to survive. One witness told ANSA of a girl riding past the train on her scooter as the explosion erupted. She had to throw herself onto the ground in an effort to extinguish her burning clothes.

According to the ANSA report carried by CNN investigators of the horrific train explosion, they were exploring the possibility that a broken axle on one of the tanker cars might have given way, derailing the container and its flammable cargo and impacting other areas of the train.

The train was travelling from La Spezia to Pisa, when the accident happened.



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