Train driver killed as train hits crane in Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A commuter train derailed after slamming into a crane which was crossing the tracks early Tuesday in the eastern Netherlands, killing the train's driver and injuring seven passengers, the local mayor said.

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Police said they detained the driver of the crane for questioning as part of their investigation into the cause of the crash.

The accident around 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) left the train's four carriages lying on their sides scattered in waterlogged fields and across the rails outside the town of Dalfsen, 125 kilometres east of Amsterdam.

Dalfsen's mayor, Hans Noten, told reporters that the accident happened at a time when the train was almost empty.

"In the rush hour, this train would have been totally full," he said.

Noten said the train, which was travelling between the eastern cities of Emmen and Zwolle, was at full speed when it crashed into the crane, though he did not elaborate on exactly how fast it was moving.

The crash happened at a rail crossing with barriers that should stop road traffic as trains pass, according to Prorail, the company that manages the Dutch railway network. Investigators were at the scene to establish the exact cause.

Noten said that the train's driver had been confirmed dead. The driver's identity was not immediately released. Two injured people were hospitalized and five more were treated at the scene and released, the mayor added.



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