A derailed wagon at the site of a train accident in the railway station of Bretigny-sur-Orge on July 12, 2013 near Paris.
A French intercity train derailed south of Paris, killing at least six people, President Francois Hollande said
The crash yesterday marked the country's worst such accident since 2002. Of the 22 people severely injured, one was in critical condition, Hollande told BFM TV at the site of the derailment.
"There's an investigation under way to get to the bottom of this accident," Hollande told television channels last night. "There will be all kinds of lessons to be drawn."
The incident is the latest of several worldwide including the crash of a runaway train operated by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. hauling 72 cars of crude oil that jumped the tracks in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6, killing as many as 50 people. Last month, a commuter train crash in Buenos Aires killed three people and injured 155. In May, a Metro-North rush-hour train derailed in Connecticut injuring at least 75 people.
The train, number 3657 to Limoges from Paris, derailed at Bretigny-sur-Orge about 28 kilometers (17 miles) outside Paris, Remi Guers, a spokesman for French national railway operator SNCF, said by phone.
A spokeswoman for the prefecture of Essone said that eight hospitals in the region, including six in Essone and two in Paris, were on alert. The accident occurred at 5:14 p.m. local time yesterday, according to an SNCF Twitter account. Hollande, who arrived in Bretigny-sur-Orge, met with some of the injured, BFM reported.
SNCF Chairman Guillaume Pepy said on BFM that the train had about 370 passengers and that six cars derailed when going through the Bretigny-sur-Orge train station. Pepy said he didn't know yet know the reason for the derailment and that an investigation had been started.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls earlier said that at least seven people were killed in the accident.
In October 2006 a Luxembourg passenger train and a French freight train collided head-on in the Lorraine region of northeastern France, killing five people and injuring 20. The most serious previous accident in the country happened in November 2002, when 12 passengers were killed and 12 injured when a fire broke out on an international passenger train in eastern France.