Hundreds injured in Australian derailment

BUNDABERG, Australia – Upwards of 160 people were injured Tuesday when a high speed train derailed, taking out trees in its path.

“Thank God no one was killed,” news agency AFP quoted Queensland state Premier Peter Beattie as saying as he toured the wreck hours just after the crash. “When you look at the site it is in fact a miracle that no one was.”

Authorities were unsure what might have caused the train, known as the “City of Townsville” express. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) sent investigators to the scene to investigate.

“I was thrown against the window and the awareness of my face smashing against the window pane was the first thing I knew,” The Associated Press quoted Patricia Ponting, 67, as saying. “It felt as if we were going along a corrugated surface, then a couple of the kids screamed and then it just came to an abrupt halt.”

The train is known as a “tilt train,” because it tilts on curves, allowing it to reach higher speeds. The train could reach speeds of about 100 mph, according to various news reports.

It is unclear how fast the train was traveling when it derailed. However, the section of track where the derailment occurred was inspected a short time earlier, The Associated Press reported.