Eight reported dead in train crash in Belgium

A crowded train has slammed head on into an empty locomotive in central Belgium, leaving at least eight people dead.

A crowded train has slammed head on into an empty locomotive in central Belgium, leaving at least eight people dead.

The death toll is expected to rise as emergency services cut into the wreckage to search for more bodies or trapped survivors.

A rail spokeswoman said the empty train apparently ended up on the wrong track, in the path of the passenger train heading south from Leuven.

Unconfirmed local media reports put the death toll as high as 12.

One of the trains was empty, the other was crowded with rush-hour passengers when they collided in the village of Pecrot on the line between the university towns of Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve.

Leen Uyterhoeven, a spokeswoman for the national SNCB-NMBS rail company said the accident occurred around 16 miles east of Brussels.

Rescue workers are still trying to cut into carriages and the injured have been ferried to several local hospitals. Ms Uyterhoeven said at least eight people are seriously hurt.

The four carriages of the southbound passenger train were crushed on impact as the empty train ploughed into them, ending up on top of one passenger car.

Uyterhoeven said the empty train apparently ended up on the wrong track, in the path of the passenger train heading south from Leuven.

The driver of the empty train was killed in the crash. Local media reports cited witnesses who said the signals on a level crossing appeared to have malfunctioned ahead of the collision.

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