At least three people were killed and nine were injured when a passenger train rear-ended a freight train at 11 p.m. Sunday in the eastern Liege province at Hermalle-sous-Huy in Belgium, according to local reports.
Frederic Sacre, spokesperson for Infrabel, the company that manages Belgium rail network, had told the local newspaper La Libre Belgique the two trains had been traveling on the same track when the passenger train suddenly hit the freight train from behind.
According to multiple sources the passenger train carrying approximately 40 people was traveling at 55 mph when it hit the freight train and two of the passenger train’s six cars derailed and rolled over onto their side.
At 2 a.m. all passengers had been freed from the wrecked cars, according to the entertainment company RTL. Some of the passengers that survived the crash were taken to a nearby abbey, others to a local sports center where they could receive psychological counseling.
Firefighters and police were dispatched to the scene and they cooperated with SNCB, the company that operates Belgian trains, and Infrabel, to get all the passengers out.
Mayor of Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse, Francis Dejon, told local news companies he believes the number of deaths might increase. At first it was believed that all 40 passengers were injured, but at a press conference Belgian officials informed local news companies that it was only nine people who got injured; many of them believed to be in critical condition.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Infrabel confirmed a lightning had struck earlier that day that required work to be done on the tracks. The Belgian paper L’Avenir believe the repairs had something to do with why the two trains were on the same track.