5 dead, 27 injured in explosion in Bulgarian freight train

Sofia, Dec 10 (IANS) At least five persons died and 27 were injured on Saturday when a freight train derailed following an explosion in the Bulgarian village of Hitrino about 360 km from here, authorities said.

The accident happened around 5.45 a.m. (local time), when the convoy made up of 26 tank cars, three holding propane-butane and 20 carrying propylene, derailed as it passed through the village, Efe news agency quoted sources in the Interior Ministry as saying.

The country’s fire department chief Nikolay Nikolov said one of the tank cars carrying propane-butane provoked the devastating explosion that destroyed several nearby buildings and caused a huge fire.

He said that some 12 people were rescued from the debris, adding that the town with a population of about 900 people was being evacuated.

At least 20 buildings were destroyed in the incident, including the railway station and a police station.

The head of a local hospital said that 23 people had been admitted with burns.

Bulgaria’s acting Prime Minister Boiko Borisov was on his way to the scene and made an appeal on his Facebook page for citizens to donate blood at hospitals in the area.