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article imageHuman error not to blame for Paris train crash

By Amanda Payne     Jul 14, 2013 in World
Paris - Investigators into the high speed train crash that killed six people and injured many more at a station just south of Paris, have discovered what they believe may be the cause of the accident.
The state rail company SNCF have said that a connecting bar that holds two sections of rail track together had come loose. Pierre Izard, a General Manager for SNCF told media that the bar had moved from its normal position thus getting caught in the train's wheels. The entire French network is now being checked to make sure that the around 5,000 similar devices are safe. Investigators are concentrating on how the bar had become loosened.
The train driver has been praised for his actions by Frederic Cuvillier, France's Minister for Transport. The Minister said that it was thanks to the driver's quick reaction that the accident hadn't been worse than it was. Monsieur Cuvillier said that the driver had "absolutely extraordinary reflexes in that he sounded the alarm immediately, preventing a collision with another train coming in the opposite direction and which would have hit the derailing carriages within seconds".
The accident happened on Friday July 12 during the evening rush hour. The train was carrying 385 passengers when it was derailed whilst travelling through the station at Brétigny-sur-Orge. Of those, six have been confirmed dead, three men and three women. Many more were injured, some seriously. A crane has been brought in to lift one carriage as it is believed there may be more bodies beneath it.
French emergency services were very quickly on the scene with 300 firefighters, 20 paramedic teams and eight helicopters used to get to the injured and ferry them to hospital. There have been some rumours on social media sites that vandals threw stones at the emergency service personnel and looted bodies but this has not been officially confirmed.
In his traditional Bastille Day interview on a French national television channel, French President Francois Hollande was asked if he thought the accident had been caused by a deliberate act of vandalism. He said that nothing can be discounted but that he did not believe that was the case. The French President had personally visited the site of the accident shortly after it occurred. Speaking outside the station he said: "We will definitely find out what happened, and there will be conclusions to draw from this. But first let’s think of the victims, let’s think of the families, and salute all personnel who responded."
Across France, two minutes silences were held either on Saturday or Sunday at local stations to remember those who had died in one of France's worst train crashes.
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