Eight Killed, 180 Injured, in Massive Train Wreck

A passenger train hit a truck Tuesday afternoon near Kiryat Gat in the south. Eight people were killed and over 180 were injured when three train cars derailed and one of them overturned.

, | updated: 5:50 PM

The crash, which was Israel's worst train disaster ever, claimed eight lives. Over 100 people were still hospitalized this morning in various hospitals in Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, Jerusalem and elsewhere. Eleven people are in serious condition.

For a while after the crash, some passengers were trapped inside the overturned car. Rescue workers finally succeeded in freeing the trapped passengers and rushing the injured to hospitals. The train’s locomotive was totally destroyed, and the three cars following the locomotive were badly damaged.

Twenty ambulances, police cars and military helicopters arrived quickly on the scene. Rescue vehicles had difficulty approaching the area, which is accessible only by dirt roads.

Among the dead were the train's conductor and the truck's driver. Train passengers who lost their lives included the son of Kiryat Gat's first Chief Rabbi, a young female soldier, and the father of one-year-old twin girls.

The crash occurred at around 5:45 P.M near Kibbutz Revadim in the area of Kiryat Gat. The crowded, rush-hour passenger train was on its way from Haifa to Be'er Sheva when a truck inexplicably drove onto the tracks. An investigation is underway.

The truck had been involved in paving Route 6, the Trans Israel Highway that passes near Kiryat Gat and continues on to Be'er Sheva. A similar accident involving a truck occurred in the same area five years ago, killing the train's conductor.