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Train Derailment in England Leaves Four Dead, Dozens Injured

Aired October 17, 2000 - 2:06 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And now, another developing international story: at least four people are dead, about two dozen injured in a high-speed train derailment north of London. Authorities say the train was traveling at 115 miles an hour when it jumped the tracks around noon, local time. in Hatfield.

CNN's Tom Mintier has the latest for us now from the crash site.

Tom, what do we know?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this is the third major rail disaster in Britain in as many years. Unlike the previous two, the casualty list is not as long. There are four confirmed dead right now and 26 seriously injured, seriously injured enough to be taken to the hospital. There was a total of 80 people that were hurt. Most of them were treated at the scene, here in Hertford (ph) where the accident happened.

Normally, the journey is a quick one from King's Cross in north London to Leeds at speeds reaching 120 miles an hour, but less than 15 minutes after this journey started, it ended tragically with three of the cars coming off of the track going down into an embankment. One witness said that the rail car that is used as a buffet car, the top was entirely ripped off. Most of the people, by the time emergency services came, were on the side of the track sitting on their valises, or on their bags in a stunned atmosphere.

What one passenger said, he said, he heard a loud bang, and the next thing he knew, the carriage was off the track.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a loud bang. I felt the vibration throughout the whole train and the vibration got worse and worse. You can sense the train slowly going out of control. But the driver seemed to, sort of, catch it and it just slowed down in time until it got to a halt before it hit anything, before it lost control of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just grabbed the hand of the man in front of me and just let if happen. I honestly didn't know what was going on and I didn't know what was going to happen. But everything is fine in our carriage. So, I'm just very grateful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a big bang and I can only liken it like a very heavy air turbulence and then really followed by a pretty fast deceleration. So, you bounce along quite a bit. You obviously realize you are off the rails at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one jolt and then a few seconds later, sort of multiple jolts and a window two seats up from me smashed, so, a stone had hit and the whole thing shattered and then a, probably, jolt of about 30 seconds, something like that, then ground to a halt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MINTIER: The investigation is still continuing. But the police and fire officials say that they have already made a complete search of the area. And they don't say that they're expecting to find any other victims. One other interesting thing, normally, when a train derails, the front cars go off. In this train derailment, the back cars went off -- Lou.

WATERS: Tom Mintier, north of London.

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