updated 1/17/2007 4:22:32 AM ET 2007-01-17T09:22:32

Passengers on a train that collided with a flock of reindeer in northern Norway had to use a hammer to put the injured animals out of their misery, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

“It was a truly gruesome scene,” the Aftenposten daily quoted Per Ole Oskal, the owner of the reindeer herd, as saying. “Carcasses were lying for several hundred meters along the tracks.”

Hammers had to be used because for security reasons the Norwegian rail company no longer allows staff to keep rifles in the locomotive to shoot animals injured in collisions, which occur frequently in wild and sparsely populated Norway.

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