High-speed train derails in eastern France leaving at least 20 hurt

State rail company SNCF says train driver was ‘seriously injured’ and evacuated by helicopter. (Twitter pic/BoissouO)

PARIS: A high-speed TGV train running between Strasbourg in eastern France and Paris derailed on Thursday, injuring 20 people including one seriously, local officials said.

Police and emergency services rushed to the scene of the accident, which happened at 7.45am near Ingenheim in the Bas-Rhin area, the local prefecture said in a statement.

“The initial assessment is that there is one wounded person who is an extremely urgent case, and 20 people who are being treated as relatively urgent cases,” the statement said.

There were 348 passengers on board.

The state rail company SNCF said on Twitter that the train driver was “seriously injured” and evacuated by helicopter, adding that a major landslip caused the accident.

Alexandre Sergeant, a passenger on the train, told BFM television: “We are all a bit shaken. There are people crying, some have back pains.”

Other trains were being re-routed and there was no interruption to services, a spokesman for SNCF said.

In 2015, a TGV derailed on the Paris-Strasbourg line during a test run prior to the line’s entry into service, killing 11 people.

That crash dealt a setback to the rollout of high-speed rail lines that are a symbol of French pride and intended to help support economic growth beyond the capital.