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On 25 July 2009, a Croatian train en route from Zagreb to Split crashed. Six were killed and 40 wounded.


The Accident


The two-carriage tilting train derailed on 25 July 2009 at 12:08 pm local time, about 30 km (19 miles) from its final destination. The accident occurred near the town of Kastela, outside Split, a port city on the coast of the Adriatic. The front carriage of the two-carriage train hit the sides of a cutting through a hillside, twice, before breaking apart.


Authorities believe that if the train had derailed into a ravine several meters ahead, the death toll could have been higher.


There were 91 passengers on the train at the time it derailed, among them foreign tourists. 18 of the injured were Croatian; six were French; two were Australian, three were Swedish and four others were Belgian, British, Slovenian and Pakistani, respectively.


The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Some reports suggest sabotage by railways workers. Passengers report that the train’s speed was excessive prior to derailment. Said injured passenger Zarko Rogan, aged 71, "I told my wife, ’We have a problem, this train’s brakes don’t work."


The Rescue Effort


Most of the passengers on this train were young people traveling to the beaches and resorts of the Adriatic coast. Said journalist Diana Putnik, who arrived on the scene shortly after the accident, "Young people with backpacks came out of the train in a state of shock."


All regional fire brigades, as well as police and local residents, participated in the rescue effort. However, rough terrain presented a problem. The accident occurred one kilometer away from the main road, making access to the site difficult for emergency crews.


17 people were transported to Split hospital; two had suffered life-threatening injuries.


Croatian media report that this is the worst railway accident ever to have occurred in independent Croatia.




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Kaštel Kambelovac, Croatia  HR