Iran train crash in Semnan province kills at least 31

Smoke billows from destroyed train coaches at the site of a train accident in Semnan province, 25 November 2016.

At least 31 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a train collision in northern Iran, officials say.

Four carriages derailed and two caught fire after an intercity express broke down between stations and was hit by another train early on Friday.

The accident happened in subzero temperatures about 250km (150 miles) east of the capital, Tehran.

Four of the fatalities were railway employees, state media report.

“The bodies of 31 dead have been identified and more than 70 people hospitalised,” State Governor Mohammad Reza Khabbaz told local media.

A mechanical failure had forced the intercity express train to stop between stations, the governor said.

The scene of a train crash about 150 miles (250km) east of the Iranian capital Tehran, 25 November 2016.Image copyrightAP
Image captionTwo coaches of an Iranian intercity express train burst into flames after it was hit from behind

The crash occurred in Iran’s northern province of Semnan, on the main line between Tehran and Mashhad in the north-east.

Red Crescent Director Hassan Shokrollahi said rescue efforts were hampered by the remote location of the crash site.

“Due to the difficulty of access, only our helicopter has managed to reach the scene,” he said.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Semnan and Damghan.