Train Accident: French Transport Hits Tree, Injures Several

A train accident in France shook the nation on Wednesday as a hailstorm caused a chain reaction of horror, which at least one witness had first thought was a terrorist attack. It turned out to be a natural disaster, but that was little comfort to many injured passengers.

Locomotives are still one of the safest ways to travel, but that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong quickly. Anything blocking the tracks can be a serious problem.


In recent years, Paris and other places in France have played host to a number of terrorist attacks such as bombings, shootings, and various acts of violence. The nation has been on edge because of these events, so when a train had suddenly developed a severe problem, at least one person had thought the worst.

It was simply rough weather which caused the train accident and several injuries at Saint-Aunes in the Herault region. Large hailstones had pelted a local pine tree and caused it to uproot and fall on the track, where the double-decker locomotive hadn’t had room to stop. It had been traveling at around 87 miles per hour when it struck the tree. The vehicle didn’t derail, but the force of impact caused the front of the train to be badly damaged, and the windows to shatter.

Of the 219 passengers, around 50 were injured. Some had only incurred minor wounds while another dozen were more severe. One had been thrown straight from the vehicle, and that person had been airlifted to the hospital by helicopter, says Sky.

Luxembourg native 24-year-old Justine explained what it was like being inside the train when the accident occurred.

“We were on the train when hailstones the size of ping-pong balls started falling, then we heard what sounded like an explosion. The train shook for a few seconds and then I saw some people whose heads were covered in blood.”

The pine tree which created the impassable obstacle had been rooted on private property next to the railway, which could possibly start a chain of regulations about how close trees can be to train tracks. It’s unknown if such changes will come into play, as it would likely cause hundreds of trees to be chopped down over public safety.

The Environmental Protection Agency wouldn’t be happy about having so many trees cut down with no further practical purpose.

The collision had completely blocked off the line from Montpellier to Nimes during evening rush hour, but other lines have made the route possible again. France 24 states that access to the area after the collision had been extremely difficult, and helicopters were the primary mode of travel for around 80 rescue workers to evacuate the area and remove the train from its resting point.

This train accident wasn’t the only non-terrorist-related incident in the European area, as a serial stabber in London had attacked an elderly woman and several others before authorities arrived to remove him. It was believed that he had mental problems and suddenly snapped, but like the train accident, there was no involvement from ISIS or other terrorist groups.

[Image via Leonid Andronov/]