Death Toll In Polish Train Collision Rises To 15

Published March 4, 2012 9:18AM (EST)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish prosecutors have opened an investigation into how a train ended up on the wrong tracks after two engines collided head on late Saturday, killing 15 people and leaving 54 in hospitals.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk called the accident the most tragic train catastrophe in Poland in recent years after visiting the site in the early hours of Sunday.

He said it was too soon to say what had caused the accident.

Several of the passengers were foreigners, including people from Ukraine, Spain and France, but none of them appeared to be among the dead or badly injured, Tusk said.

Polish media broadcast images from the site of green and white train cars mangled and knocked off the tracks.

"Even more dramatic than the pictures are the facts," Tusk said. "This is our most tragic train disaster in many, many years."

Rescue workers ended their search for the dead and prosecutors opened their investigation early Sunday.

The trains, carrying about 350 people in total, were traveling toward each other on the same track when they collided head-on in the small town of Szczekociny in southern Poland.

One train was traveling from the eastern city of Przemysl to Warsaw, while the other — on the wrong track — was heading south from Warsaw to Krakow. Some maintenance work was being done on the tracks in Szczekociny before the accident happened, official said.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski was also planning to visit the site on Sunday, his office said.

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------