A French high-speed TGV train derailed early Thursday while travelling from the eastern city of Strasbourg to Paris, an accident caused by the collapse of an embankment that seriously injured the driver and 20 others, state rail operator SNCF and local authorities said.
The driver was evacuated by helicopter following the accident near Ingenheim, around 30 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Strasbourg.
The train was still intact but the locomotive was leaning on its side and at least two other wagons were also off the tracks, according to AFP journalists at the scene.
Rescue workers arrived shortly after the accident, which occurred around 20 minutes after the train left Strasbourg at 7:19 am (0619 GMT).
Passenger Alexandre Sergeant told BFM television by telephone: “All of a sudden we felt an impact, and then the train was on the gravel, it kept rolling for a while and then started to lean on its side.”
“We’re in the third wagon, all the windows are broken, and our wagon is off the tracks,” Sergeant said.
Many passengers were in shaken by the accident, with some saying their backs had been hurt, but “there wasn’t any wave of panic,” he said.