The train was traveling between Ingenheim and Saessolsheim with 348 passengers on board when it derailed at 7.45 a.m. (1.45 a.m. ET), according to a statement from the Bas-Rhin department prefecture.
France’s national railway company SNCF told CNN the train, a high-speed service known as TGV, was en route from Colmar to Paris via Strasbourg when it hit some debris on the tracks due to a landslide.
“The driver activated all security systems to stop the train as soon as possible,” said SNCF.
While the train was not completely derailed, the driver was seriously injured and taken to hospital by helicopter.
The company said it did not know exactly how fast the train was traveling at the time, but the average speed of TGV trains in France is 300 km/h (186 mph).
Ninety-two firefighters and 37 vehicles were mobilized to rescue and assist the victims, according to the Bas-Rhin prefecture, and a departmental operation center has been activated to coordinate the rescue operation.
In November 2015 at least 10 people were killed in eastern France after a TGV train came off the tracks and plunged into a canal during a test run.
Around 50 people – mostly engineers and other railway staff – were aboard the train when it derailed outside the city of Strasbourg.
At the time the Agence France-Presse news agency reported that it was the country’s first fatal TGV accident in three decades.
Millions of travelers use France’s extensive TGV network every year.