Authorities say at least two people died and 14 were injured after a train carrying chemicals derailed and caught on fire in Belgium.
According to Infrabel, the organization responsible for the Belgian railway network, the accident occurred Saturday around 2:00 am local time as the train changed tracks between the towns of Schellebelle and Wetteren.
Six of the train’s 13 cars derailed and two were thrown on to their side by the force of derailment.
The train, which was reportedly loaded down with the toxic chemical compound acrylonitrile, was traveling from the Netherlands to Ghent’s seaport.
The blaze caused by the crash led to a series of explosions in the railway cars, prompting authorities to evacuate residents living more than 500 yards from the site of the accident.
Residents living within 1000 yards of where the train derailed were also warned to stay indoors with their windows shut.
“There is a problem of poisoning linked to the smoke,” Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said. “But there is also another reaction, since some of the chemical product went into the drains and caused a kind of chemical reaction with gases that are toxic and escaped into certain streets beyond the perimeter that had already been evacuated due to the fire.”
The International Business Times notes two similar accidents involving trains carrying tanks of toxic products occurred in Belgium in May 2012.
Here is raw video footage of Saturday’s train crash in Belgium:
While the rail service has not commented on the cause of the crash observers said the train might have been traveling too fast.
The train derailment comes less than month after a bus carrying Russian school children crashed into a ravine in northern Belgium.