'Three dead, 40 injured' in Belgium train crash


Three people are reported to have been killed and about 40 injured after a passenger train smashed into the back of a freight train in eastern Belgium.

State broadcaster RTBF said the accident happened at Hermalle-sous-Huy, on the banks of the Meuse river in Liege province, late on Sunday.

The mayor of Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse district, Francis Dejon, said the collision had been "very violent".

a safety official stands near train wreckage

Dejon said the number of people killed and hurt could change.

Frederic Sacre, a spokesman for Infrabel, the company that manages Belgium's rail network, told La Libre Belgique newspaper the trains had been travelling on the same track. The passenger train hit the freight train from behind.

RTL said the passenger train was carrying about 40 people. It had been traveling at 55mph when it hit the freight train shortly after 11pm - two of its six carriages then derailed and toppled onto their sides.

a close up of the wreckage with rescue workers standing by

"All our services are mobilised and are completely co-operating with rescue services," Infrabel and SNCB, the company that operates Belgian trains, said.

By 2am on Monday, all passengers had been freed, RTL said. Some of the survivors were taken to a nearby abbey. Others were reportedly transported to a local sports centre, where they were being offered counselling.

Police and firefighters from the nearby city of Liege were dispatched to the scene.