M62 Pileup; YORKSHIRE TRAIN DISASTER

By Adamson, Colin; Benham, Mark et al. | The Evening Standard (London, England), February 28, 2001 | Go to article overview

M62 Pileup; YORKSHIRE TRAIN DISASTER


Adamson, Colin, Benham, Mark, Gusmaroli, Danielle, Harris, Ed, Murray, Dick, Ramsay, Allan, Sturgis, John, Wallace, Sam, Hind, Graham, Key, Ian, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: COLIN ADAMSON;MARK BENHAM;DANIELLE GUSMAROLI;ED HARRIS;DICK MURRAY;ALLAN RAMSAY;JOHN STURGIS;SAM WALLACE;GRAHAM HIND;IAN KEY

UP to 20 people are dead and scores injured today after a London-bound main line train was derailed by a Land Rover on the track. At least 30 of the victims are said to be in a critical condition.

The disaster happened at Great Heck near Selby, North Yorkshire, at 6.12am after the Land Rover, towing a trailer, had careered off a motorway bridge and blocked the East Coast main line track.

The vehicle had come off the M62. Railtrack's said its first theory was that the Land Rover was first hit at high speed by the crowded Newcastle to Kings Cross express, sending all nine coaches crashing off the rails. A freight train carrying coal then ploughed into the wrecked passenger train.

It is believed the passenger train would have been travelling at at least 90mph and judging from early pictures from the scene may have been travelling at more than 100mph.

Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive later said they believed it was the freight train that first crashed into the Land Rover.

A Railtrack spokeswoman described the crash scene as "absolute devastation".

She said: "Carriages have been overturned, they have gone down the embankment and into the field near the track."

Passengers on the train told of the horror. One said: "I was alright but a woman sitting opposite me was thrown through the air. We spun round and came to a stop. Further down the carriage one passenger was covered in blood."

Charles Watkinson, who lives next to the track, told how he found the carnage: "There was no screaming just an eerie silence. One woman had a bone sticking out of her leg. She must have been in pain but she was trying to hwelp another passenger.

"In one carriage there were four people. I don't think they were alive. In was just trying to smash windows to get people out., Then the emergency services arrived like the cavalry."

Rescue teams arriving at the disaster site, reported appalling carnage.

Trauma teams from hospitals in York, Hull, Leeds, and Pontefract are being sent to the scene, while firefighters using cutting gear are attempting to free trapped passengers.

Firefighters reported that the sound of desperate knocking was heard from within one twisted carriage. "We are concentrating on rescuing these people.

It's a chaotic scene" a Humberside Fire Brigade spokesman said. …

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