March 7, 1998 in Nation/World

Passenger Train In Finland Derails, Killing At Least 11

Matti Huuhtanen Associated Press
 

An express passenger train derailed in central Finland on Friday, killing at least 11 people, including an engineer, and blocking a main highway, officials said.

The engine and five carriages ran off the tracks as the train, carrying 500 passengers, was slowing to stop at a station in Jyvaskyla, 165 miles north of Helsinki, passengers said.

The engine became detached and slammed into a concrete pillar about 100 yards from the rest of the train. Two carriages overturned.

Thirty-nine people were injured, officials said.

“As I was making my way back from the toilet, the train began to shake, people screamed, and a suitcase fell on my head,” passenger Juha-Veli Jokinen said.

“There was a lot of shouting. People were in shock and they were bleeding from wounds,” said Jokinen, who escaped to another carriage when his own was about to overturn.

No cause was disclosed, but Markku Mensala, head of the Jyvaskyla Fire and Rescue Services, said it was likely the train was going too fast.

One of the two engineers died, officials said.


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