3 dead, 6 seriously injured after train derails in Scotland

Three people were killed and six taken to hospital following a passenger train derailment on Wednesday morning on the east coast of Scotland, police said.

U.K. PM Boris Johnson said he was saddened to learn of 'very serious incident'

Emergency response vehicles are parked at the scene of a train derailment near Stonehaven in northeast Scotland. (Michal Wachucik/AFP/Getty Images)

Three people were killed and six taken to hospital following a passenger train derailment on Wednesday morning on the east coast of Scotland, police said.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared the accident a major incident.

Dark smoke billowed from a woodland area at the bottom of a valley near Stonehaven, just south of the oil city of Aberdeen, after the ScotRail train derailed following heavy rain overnight.

Two air ambulances and about 30 emergency service vehicles could be seen in a field just above the scene of the derailment. With rescue workers hampered by the steep terrain and dense woodland, it took many hours for casualty numbers to be confirmed.

Aerial footage showed one carriage detached from the rail tracks and lying on its side some distance down the slope. Another was completely overturned and had two carriages resting on it, one of which was also overturned.

"My deepest condolences are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident," said Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland's semi-autonomous government.

British Transport Police said in a statement that "despite the best efforts of paramedics," the three people were pronounced dead at the scene. It added that the driver of the train was believed to have been among those killed.

WATCH | The scene from above the deadly derailment:

The passenger train derailed in the countryside in the early morning after a night of heavy rain. 1:00

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was saddened to learn of the "very serious incident" in Aberdeenshire, and his thoughts were with all those affected.

The train appeared to have been carrying very few passengers. The government has been advising Britons to avoid public transport wherever possible as part of efforts to reduce transmission of the coronavirus.

Police received reports of a train derailing near Stonehaven, a town 15 kilometres south of Aberdeen, at 9:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Stonehaven and the surrounding area had been hit by floods in recent days, and some reports suggested a landslide may have played a part in the derailment, although that was not confirmed by authorities.

TV footage showed two air ambulances in a field near the scene, alongside about 25 police vehicles and ambulances.

The United Kingdom has one of Europe's lowest rates of fatal rail accidents, with a stronger safety record than Germany or France in recent years, according to Eurostat data that includes unauthorized people on railway tracks and at level crossings.

European railways are very safe for rail passengers, with just 13 deaths across the European Union's 28 member states in 2018, according to the most recent available data from Eurostat. One of those was in the U.K.

The worst rail disasters in Britain in recent decades include a 1999 collision between two trains at Ladbroke Grove in London, in which 31 people died, and a 2001 accident near Selby in Yorkshire, northeast England, in which 10 people died after a car ran onto the track and was hit by two trains.

A train derailed near Aberdeen in Scotland on Wednesday. (CBC News )


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.