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A train derailment outside Paris has killed six people and injured “dozens” of passengers, French Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls confirmed Friday.
Approximately 385 people were aboard the train when it derailed in Brétigny-sur-Orge at 5:14 p.m. local time, electrocuting passengers and trapping many inside the four cars that flew off the tracks, Le Parisien reports.
“A number of people” are believed to still be trapped within the derailed train cars. The cause of the accident is still unknown, but a source from France’s state-owned railway company, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF), told Le Parisien that a malfunctioning track switcher was to blame. SNCF president Guillaume Pepy described the accident as a “catastrophe”.
“This is panic. It is an apocalyptic spectacle,” a city official told Le Parisien.
Earlier Friday evening, Valls told reporters seven people had died and described the situation as “constantly evolving.” The BBC reports that another interior ministry later put the number of deaths at six, with another nine people seriously hurt and 17 lightly injured.