Norway: Thousands evacuated after propane train crash : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

(April 5)

Police have evacuated thousands of residents from a town near Oslo, fearing a giant explosion after a train carrying about 100 tonnes of propane gas collided with another train and caught fire. Around 3,000 people, including schoolchildren and hospital patients, were evacuated as police cordoned off an area stretching 1,000 yards from Lillestroem station.

"It was horrifying. Police woke us up and got me and my six-month-old baby out in a hurry. We only live 50 metres from the crash," said Susanne Thorsnes.

"It reminded me of the last time I was evacuated, from Oslo during the war when the German planes came," said 77-year-old Ruth Knardahl, referring to the Nazi invasion of April 1940.

Police fear that, if the train explodes, a gigantic fireball might destroy nearby buildings and send a shower of debris and glass over the area, mostly in Lillestroem but also part of the neighbouring district of Raelingen.

No one was hurt in the crash, which happened when one train inexplicably ran into the back of another on one of Norway's busiest lines on Tuesday night.

Residents complained that police had waited until after dawn on Wednesday before deciding to evacuate. Police said they initially believed the fire would be brought under control.

One propane tank was ruptured during the crash and was on fire. Firefighters believe it will eventually burn out.

The main danger is that a sealed tank on the next wagon, containing about 46 tonnes of propane, might overheat and explode. Firefighters have doused the tank with water in an attempt to cool it.

The crash is Norway's second major accident this year. Nineteen people died in January when two passenger trains collided head-on in south Norway, apparently after a driver ignored a red light.

(ITN online)

-- Risteard Mac Thomais (, April 06, 2000

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