A two passenger train collision leaves at least 25 dead and approximately 50 injured in Puglia, the southern region of Italy on Tuesday morning, 12 July.

The crash occurred on a single-track line between the towns Ruvo di Puglia and Andria. Both trains were operated under the private railway company Ferrotramviaria SpA who mostly carries work commuters, students as well as those going to and from the airport in Bari, a city about 32 kilometers from Ruvo di Puglia.

The crash happened at about 11:05 a.m. in the Puglia region, said Maria Rondenodnone, a volunteer firefighter. Credit: FOX 40 WICZ

The reasons for the collision are still unknown however Massimo Nitti, Ferrotramviaria Director-General, said one of the two trains should not have been there. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had arrived at the scene in the early afternoon and demanded an official investigation into the crash to clear the confusion as to whether the incident was due to a technical or human error.

About 200 people have been involved in rescuing passengers, of which include firefighters, paramedics, police officers and even the army. Prime Minister Renzi had sent infrastructure and transport minister, Graziano Delrio, and the head of the civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, to the site to facilitate investigations. Italian President Sergio Mattarella offered his condolences and thoughts to the victims and their families.

The Ferrotramviaria Director-General told an Italian Television station: “One of the trains has literally entered the other one. The train coming from north has been almost completely explored. Now we need to free up the other one….We have to expect to find other people inside”.

One of the police officers working on the scene described the severe crash as the worst scene of his life, where people lay dead, begging for help and crying before his eyes. Numerous survivors waited in the shade of the 40 degree heat for helicopters to arrive and take them to hospitals. One woman told local television channel Telesveva in an interview about seeing dead bodies all over the ground as she pulled her husband from the debris.

Simultaneously, it is peculiar that a crash of such a nature with the body-count it caused would yield no images of the bodies but only of the wreckage. In an era where the public is so used to being bombarded by graphic images of the dead and/or dying, it raises the question as to why it is usually a tragedy involving a specific type of people that merits pictures that may hurt the dignity of those captured to be smeared all over the media?

Other serious train crashes in Italy

According to the Wall Street Journal, three collisions took place last year, of which one was due to human error. The Italian statistical institute, Istat, recorded the death of 366 commuters between the years 2010 and 2014 due to train crashes.

Furthermore, according to BBC, in the past two decades the Mediterranean country has witnessed at least three deadly train accidents: in 2009, a freight train transporting liquefied petroleum gas derailed in Viareggio and caused an explosion killing 30; in 2005, a head-on crash between a freight and passenger trains close to Crevalcore killed 17; and in 2002, a passenger train derailed in Rometta Messina and killed eight.

Source: The New York Times