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'Like a bomb explosion'

Desperate bid to rescue passengers
Desperate bid to rescue passengers  

SELBY, England -- Witnesses to a fatal train crash in North Yorkshire have told of scenes of devastation as emergency services struggled to free people from mangled carriages.

The crash happened when a freight train and a passenger train collided after a car had crashed onto the track at Selby.

Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service spokesman Nigel Metcalfe said: "It's like a scene from a bomb explosion. The carnage is appalling. You can hear mobile phones going off deep inside the mangled wreckage.

Selby Rail crash Selby Train Crash
  •  Collision map
  •  Motorist's 999 call
  •  'Like a bomb'
  •  Emergency response
  •  The day in quotes
  •  Official reaction
  •  Blow to UK railroads
  •  Rail company statement
  •  UK rail crash timeline

"Our crews had to carry patients about 100 yards across muddy fields to the field hospital where they could be picked up by ambulance. It's very depressing and distressing."

He said people were suffering from "every kind of injury you can imagine" and there were "a vast number of fractures".

David Chandler, who lives near the crash site, said: "We were woken up by a horrible, weird crunching minutes before 6:15 a.m.

"All I could see was a mass of piled up carriages lying just outside the village and I could see the front of a freight train."

A drama student on board the Intercity train, Janine Edwards, 22, told how passengers screamed as the impact happened.

"I heard screaming and shouting and the lights went out. I held onto the table in front of me and then there was a huge impact. My carriage was on its side. I was lucky, I was still in my seat, clinging to the table," she said.

"One lady, who was travelling with her daughter, had been flung into the air and was lying in the next corridor. Her leg was trapped.

"The man opposite me was streaming with blood. The window next to him was smashed and the frame had come out and hit him. His wife sitting next to him was covered in his blood."

Former train conductor Raymond Pringley, 58, from York, was in a carriage at the back of the train. "There were fumes and we were worried in case there was a fire," he said.

A Railtrack spokesperson described the site as "absolute devastation". Carriages have been overturned, they have gone down the embankment and into the field near the track."

Rail crash
Deformed carriages hampered rescue efforts  

All carriages on the passenger train have been derailed. One carriage was almost vertical. Another was in a field near the track, the main line between London and north-east England.

The freight train was partially derailed with its front end off the track. It appeared to have ended up in the back garden of a house, crushing a caravan.

"It's not simple getting into the carriages because they have all been deformed," said an ambulance spokesman.

A neighbour who assisted in helping passengers out of the train before the emergency services arrived described the scene as "horrific, I can not believe the state of the train. There are mangled pieces of metal everywhere."

About 15 fire engines carrying more than 100 firefighters were sent to the scene.

"Our first priority is to get the walking wounded away and get them to hospital and to get to people who are trapped," said a spokesman.

'Mangled metal everywhere'
'Mangled metal everywhere'  

British Transport said the driver of the GNER train has been "seriously injured in the accident."

Terry Glover, of North Yorkshire Fire Service said the accident involved "multiple casualties - we are talking about significant numbers." He described the crash as a "major accident".

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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