Catastrophic Train Collision in Silesia
Two trains have collided head on near Chałupki in Śląsk. A PKP Intercity service from Przemyśl to Warsaw ran into an InterRegio train from Warsaw to Krakow at about 21:10 Saturday evening.
There are reports of several dead and around 60 wounded.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk is on his way to the crash site, where more than 200 members of the emergency services are working to free those trapped in the wreckage.
Transport commentators have noted that the stretch of the main trunk line between Warsaw and Krakow where the collision took place is currently being upgraded.
The engine and first two carriages of the train from Przemyśl have come off the rails. An eyewitness described them as having been “crushed like an accordion.”
The PKP Intercity service left Przemyśl at 14:46 on Saturday afternoon and stopped in Krakow before continuing toward Warsaw.
PKP Intercity is a semi-independent division of Poland’s state railway company and the 14:46 from Przemyśl was a Twoje Linie Kolejowe (‘Your Rail Line’) service.
InterRegio trains are run by Przewozy Regionalne (Regional Transport), a company that was split from Poland’s state railways in 2008 and now competes with it.
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Authorities have confirmed that 15 people were killed and 56 injured in the crash.
The head-on collision took place at just before 21:00, Saturday evening.
Military helicopters joined the rescue effort, ferrying the injured to hospitals across the region.
The InterRegio train heading for Krakow was on the wrong track when it hit the northbound Intercity from Przemyśl. The prosecutors office has opened an investigation.
President Komorowski and Prime Minister Tusk have visited the site of the disaster.
The president has announced that there will be a period of national mourning and the prime minister called Saturday’s crash the “most tragic train catastrophe… in many years.”
The Silesian Crisis Management Centre is providing an information hotline: 32 20 77 201 or 32 20 77 202.