Several people were reported to be seriously injured Wednesday morning when a passenger train derailed on the east coast of Scotland as the country was hit by storms, according to reports.
Police were called about 9:45 a.m. local time to the scene near Stonehaven, about 100 miles northeast of Edinburgh, where several ambulances, a medical chopper and several firetrucks were at the scene.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told lawmakers that initial reports suggested there were “serious injuries” in what she tweeted was an “extremely serious incident.”
The Press Association news agency, citing unnamed sources, reported that the train’s driver was feared dead and that there may have been another fatality, Reuters reported.
There was no official confirmation from officials.
“I’ve had an initial report from Network Rail and the emergency services and am being kept updated. All my thoughts are with those involved,” Stugeon said, according to the BBC.
The derailment happened in “a very difficult location for emergency services to access,” she said.
“I know and appreciate that there will be many families who will be anxious if they believe they had relatives who were on that train,” Sturgeon added.
“We will do everything we can to make sure the emergency services are supported, that families are supported,” she said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet that his “thoughts are with all of those affected.”
Dark smoke billowed from the bottom of a valley after the ScotRail train derailed following heavy rain overnight, Reuters reported.
The BBC reported that the train – bound from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street — was made up of two locomotives, one at the front and one at the back, and four passenger cars.
The front locomotive and three of the passenger cars had left the track and ended up on a river embankment, the news outlet reported.
Andrew Haines, head of Network Rail, cut short his family holiday in Italy to fly back to the UK and head to the site, according to the BBC.
Train drivers union Aslef official Kevin Lindsay said: “We are aware that this is an extremely serious incident and our thoughts are with everyone involved.”
Stonehaven is on the line trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow along a hilly area that was hit by storms and flash flooding overnight.
“We obviously don’t know why the derailment took place, but obviously we have suffered terrible weather here,” local lawmaker Andrew Bowie said.
Britain has one of Europe’s lowest rates of fatal railroad accidents, with a stronger safety record than Germany or France in recent years, according to Eurostat data cited by Reuters.
The worst rail disasters in Britain in recent decades were a 1999 collision between two trains at Ladbroke Grove in London, where 31 people were killed, and a 2001 accident near Selby in northeast England, in which 10 people died after a car ran onto the track and was hit by two trains.
With Post wires