Passengers injured in Swiss train crash

Passengers injured in Swiss train crash
A picture shows the site of a train crash at the train station of Rafz, northern Switzerland, on Feb 20, 2015. Two trains slammed into each other north of the Swiss city of Zurich at the start of rush hour, leaving dozens of passengers injured and train carriages upturned, police and media said.

RAFZ, Switzerland - Two trains slammed into each other near the Swiss city of Zurich on Friday, tipping over carriages and injuring at least five people, one seriously, police said.

The accident happened when a regional intercity train hit a commuter train at the Rafz train station, around 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of Zurich and not far from the German border at around 6:45 am (0545 GMT), police and media said.

The locomotive on one of the trains was smashed in, with broken glass and twisted metal visible through a gaping hole in the side.

The train derailed, and several of its carriages tipped on the side.

Ambulances, fire and rescue services were sent to the scene, while a rescue helicopter hovered above the crash site.

"There was an accident this morning, it's serious, there are injured," a police spokeswoman told AFP.

Police in Zurich said in a statement at least five people were injured and one of them was in serious condition.

Services on the train line between the towns of Bulach and Schaffhouse has been suspended until further notice.

An 18-year-old passenger on the commuter train told the 20 minutes daily the train had just begun pulling out of the Rafz station on its way to Schaffhouse when the conductor hit the breaks.

"An express train from Zurich came up from behind and hit the side of our train. The intercity train derailed," said the young man, whose name was not given.

Both the trains were "quite damaged", he said, adding that the conductors on both trains had quickly evacuated the passengers. Lars Fehr, 20, meanwhile told the Blick daily he had been sitting in the Rafz station waiting room when the crash occurred.

"Suddenly there was a loud bang," he told the paper, adding that both the trains had been heading in the same direction.

Fehr said a woman had called the police and some people had headed out to the derailed train to help.

"The conductor got out of the locomotive, put on a safety vest and helped passengers out of the train," he said.

The Swiss are Europe's top rail users, and their network is normally envied abroad for safety and quality.

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