A train carrying 350 people was thrown off its tracks near Tabas, central Iran. It had hit an excavator and caused the train to crash.
State television quoted Mojtaba Khaledi, a spokesperson for the national rescue service, as saying that "Seventeen people died and 86 were injured. 37 of them were taken to hospital." He stated that "the death toll will increase because several injured are still in critical condition." An initial assessment reported ten dead.
The Isna agency released photos showing a wagon that was flipped on the track and four other wagons embedded in one another. Images from Iribnews show that the accident took place in the desert near Tabas, which is 900km southwest of Tehran. It occurred along the line connecting Mashhad and Yazd.
Mir Hassan Moussavi (deputy head of Islamic Republic Railways) said that the train carrying 348 people was unable to keep up with its speed after it struck an excavator near the tracks. According to state television, the accident occurred at 5:05 a.m. local. Mehdi Valipour, rescue operations manager, said that five of the train’s eleven carriages were towed.
Rostam Ghassemi, Roads and Urban Development Minister, apologized to Iranians via Twitter following the tragedy. He claimed that his ministry was responsible.
Local media reported that the Tabas prosecutor was present at the scene to assist in the investigation into the cause of the accident. Iranian President Ebrahim Rashi expressed his sorrow and condolences for the families of the victims.
This is two weeks after 43 people died in the collapse of a south-west Iranian building.
The Metropol building in Abadan was being built in the south-west part of the country. It collapsed in the middle of a busy street on May 23.
The disaster, which was one of the most deadly in Iran's history, has prompted a series protests in support of the families and against the corrupt and incompetent authorities.