A train derailment left one dead and at least 30 injured, including 19 seriously, on Thursday in Voorschoten, in the south of the Netherlands. “One person died and at least thirty others were injured. Eleven people were collected from local residents while the seriously injured were taken to hospital,” the emergency services said. According to Dutch media, the deceased is an employee of the construction company BAM. The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, visited the scene of the tragedy.

The train, traveling from Leiden to The Hague with around 50 passengers on board, hit a crane on the track near the village of Voorschoten at around 3:30 a.m. (01:30 GMT). A freight train also separately collided with the equipment, train operators said. Several injured people were taken to hospital and others were treated on the spot, the emergency services said, adding that “specialists are at work to secure the train”.

The force of the accident left a double-decker passenger car lying in a meadow and a second on its side on an embankment, while two cars remained on the tracks, AFP journalists found. A fire broke out after the crash in one of the carriages, local media reported. “First we heard an explosion, then another much more intense one,” Chris van Engelenburg, a 36-year-old resident, told AFP. “Then we heard people screaming,” he added. The train was carrying around 50 people, Dutch authorities said.

The Dutch railways regularly provide overnight work on the main intercity lines. “The freight train’s electric locomotive was badly damaged, but the driver was examined by a doctor” and “is fine,” operator DB Cargo said.

This is a “terrible train accident”, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted, confirming that “unfortunately one person died and many people were injured”. “My thoughts are with the loved ones and all the victims,” ​​added Mark Rutte. It’s a “black day for the Dutch railways”, lamented the CEO of the Dutch rail network company ProRail, John Voppen.

“The damage is huge, I haven’t seen anything like it. But luckily that doesn’t happen often in the Netherlands,” ProRail spokesman Jeroen Wienen told AFP. “Several different investigations have now been launched and we want to know exactly what happened,” he added, noting that tracks and power lines had been damaged. “Many are now in fear and uncertainty,” said the King and Queen of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander and Maxima.

“We heard a huge bang and all of a sudden the lights went out,” an unidentified witness told local TV Omroep West. “We couldn’t get off the train right away because there was no electricity,” the man added, visibly in shock. “We finally got out after what felt like hours. »

The worst train disaster in the Netherlands dates back to January 8, 1962, when two passenger trains collided at Harmelen, near the central city of Utrecht, killing 93 and injuring 52. The accident had occurred in thick fog and the driver of one of the two trains had not seen a traffic sign. In 2016, a train hit a construction crane in the center of the country, killing one and injuring six. In 2012, a train accident near Amsterdam also left one dead and 117 injured.

Tuesday’s accident comes after the almost simultaneous derailments Friday in Switzerland, during a strong storm, of two regional trains (15 injured). In Greece, on February 28, a train disaster killed 57 people, deeply shocking the entire country.