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Boulder hurls down mountainside and smashes into train in the French Alps

Two tourists were killed and 9 persons injured when a boulder smashed into a train in the French Alps according to an ABC News report. The boulder smashed into the side of the train and left the front car dangling on the mountainside while the second car is tilted precariously on the track. Two rescue helicopters for the injured were sent to the remote area.

Mayor Jean Ballester of the nearby Annot said, “A rock the size of an automobile came off the mountainside and slammed into the first car of the train.” The “Train of the Pines” tourist train takes about three hours on its leisurely travel of about 93 miles between Nice to Dignes-les-Bains. Those uninjured passengers were evacuated to Annot, which is about half-way between Nice and Dignes-les-Bains.

BBC News indicated that the train “crosses gorges and viaducts at up to 1,000m (3,200ft) above sea level.” Due to the remote area and heavy snow in which the train derailed, some 110 firefighters and 32 vehicles had trouble reaching the accident.

Although the mountains regularly receive snow and there are known rock falls, the track route that the train travels is considered safe. Regional transport official Jean-Yves Petit said “The track isn’t unusually dangerous.”

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