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Tunisian Train Hits Truck Blocking Tracks, Killing 18

Train’s Collision With Truck Kills 18 in Tunisia 0:21

EL FAHS, Tunisia — A Tunisian passenger train smashed into a semi-trailer truck racing to cross the tracks early Tuesday morning, killing 18 people as two carriages derailed.

At least 86 people were injured when the speeding train hit the truck at 6:30 a.m. outside the town of Fahs, 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of the capital, Tunis, authorities said.

Local media had initially reported the truck driver was among the dead, but Lt. Col. Selmi Yousfi said he escaped when he saw the train barreling toward him at about 130 kph (80 mph), and later surrendered.

Image: 17 killed, 70 injured in Tunisia train crash
Tunisian rescuers work at the site of train accident after it derailed following a collision with a lorry near the town of El Fahes, 60 kilometers south of Tunis, Tunisia on June 16, 2015. 17 people were killed and 70 injured when a train crashed into a lorry near the northern Tunisian city of El Fahs, the Interior Ministry said. MOHAMED MESSARA / EPA

Some of the passengers were ejected upon impact, said Mongi Kadhi, an official with emergency services. The train engineer was among those who died.

The crossing had a warning sign, but lacked guardrails, lights or barriers.

"Accidents like this one happen at crossings, and it's usually due to the lack of attention by the cars and trucks, because the train has to follow the rails," said Yousfi.

But Habib Jouini, the engineer of a train not involved in Tuesday's crash, faulted the security of the railway.

"We have these level crossings but they're not secured, there is no guard," he said.