PARIS – At least 6 people are dead and dozens are injured after a crowded intercity train derailed and crashed while transporting passengers from Paris to Limoges Friday.
An official for France's national railway, SNCF, says the train was carrying some 370 passengers from Paris when it skidded off its rails and crashed into the station at Bretigny-sur-Orge, about 12 miles south of Paris.
Two train cars, cars number 3 and 4, initially derailed, then knocked the other cars off the track, SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said. "Some cars simply derailed, others are leaning, others fell over," he said. Officials tell Fox News the train split into two parts.
Fox confirmed at least six deaths but Interior Minister Manuel Valls said at least seven people are believed dead and several dozen injured. Valls added that the casualty toll is "in constant evolution."
Officials did not comment on reports that some passengers may still be trapped on the train. It was unclear whether all the casualties were inside the train, or whether some had been on the platform. Fire and medical teams are already at the site of the crash to treat the wounded.
Some passengers who spoke to French media from the scene said the train was travelling unusually fast as it approached the station, according to a Reuters report. But a passenger speaking on France's BFM television said the train was going at a normal speed and was not meant to stop at Bretigny-sur-Orge. He described children unattended in the chaotic aftermath.
No cause has been reported yet but the railway company says that work was being done on the rail and an investigation is underway.
All trains from Paris’ Gare d'Austerlitz station were suspended after the accident.
France is preparing to celebrate its most important national holiday, Bastille Day, Sunday, so masses of vacationers are heading out of Paris and other big cities to see family or take summer vacation.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.