REVADIM, Israel — Eight people were killed June 21 when an Israeli passenger train crashed with a coal truck and derailed, according to authorities and published reports.
The wreck, which injured at least 195 people, was ruled an accident, not terrorism, country officials said.
“We felt really helpless. All we could see around us was fields. We had no idea where we were,” The Associated Press quoted a reporter on board the train as telling an Israeli television station. “Soldiers (on board the train) took out their bandages and began to treat the injured as much as possible.”
The train, which was traveling about 87 m.p.h., was traveling from Tel Aviv to the city of Beersheba in southern Israel, struck the 40-ton coal truck near the village of Revadim, south of Tel Aviv. After spotting the truck, the train’s engineer slowed the train to about 75 m.p.h. before the collision, according to media reports.
“I heard the train’s horn sound, and then we were all thrown forward as it slammed on the brakes,” the Baltimore Jewish Times quoted an off-duty soldier who was on board the train as telling reporters. “Next thing I know, there was a huge explosion, dust, and everything spun around. It was all I could do to get out of there.”
Israeli police were probing the circumstances of the wreck, using the train’s black box and a similar device from the truck to reconstruct the wreck.
Between 300 and 400 people were on board the train at the time of the wreck. At least three of the train’s cars derailed in the wreck, and of those, at least one car overturned. Authorities initially treated the wreck as if it was a terrorist attack.
There were no lights at the crossing, according to media reports. The truck’s driver, who was killed in the collision, had previous driving violations, Israeli media reported.
There were two wrecks at the same spot in 2000 and 2003, according to media reports. Those two wrecks were not as serious as the June 21 crash.
Fifty children were killed in a rail wreck in 1982. In the 1982 wreck, the children’s bus stalled on some train tracks and was struck by a train.