Viareggio (Italy), June 30 (Reuters): At least 16 people , including three children, were killed and 50 injured overnight in Italy when a freight train hauling liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded as it passed their homes, officials said today.
About 1,000 people were evacuated following the blast just before midnight yesterday in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio, about 350km north of Rome.
Thirty-seven people were serious injured, with 15 of them in critical condition, including a 2-year-old who was badly burned and was being transferred to a hospital in Florence, rescue workers said.
It was Italys most deadly rail accident since 17 people were killed in January 2005, when a passenger train collided with a freight train near the northern city of Bologna.
The emergency and danger are not over. The area has been sealed off and search and rescue operations are ongoing, said Guido Bertolaso, head of Italys civil protection agency.
We have a convoy with four train wagons that are still carrying liquefied petroleum and are off the tracks, on their sides... so the area is still at a really high risk level because the fire is still smouldering.
Firefighters battled overnight to contain blazes started by the explosion, which spread to nearby buildings and set cars alight. The area around the tracks was blackened and rescuers struggled to pull survivors from collapsed homes. Viareggio mayor Luca Lunardini said three or four people could still be burried under the rubble.