9 die and 76 hurt in subway collision

WASHINGTON DC - Rescue workers searched through a mangled mess after a Washington metro train rammed into another one during rush hour, killing at least nine people and injuring 76.

WASHINGTON DC - Rescue workers searched through a mangled mess after a Washington metro train rammed into another one during rush hour, killing at least nine people and injuring 76.

Mayor Adrian Fenty described the Monday evening collision as the deadliest in the subway system's 33-year history, as local media reported that nine people were found dead.

Rescuers used powerful blades to cut through the wreckage to find any more people trapped after a train slammed into a stationary one, forcing one subway car on top of the other and sending passengers hurtling through the air.

Fenty suggested the moving train may have been travelling too fast when it hit the stationary one. The rear car of the lead train compressed like an accordion before leapfrogging on top of it on an above-ground portion of track on the heavily-used Red Line.

"It was going at a speed that would have made that initial car literally compress to about one-fourth of the original size," Fenty told CNN, hinting the death toll could rise.

"We have to go in and find out if there are any remaining bodies." Fenty confirmed six people had died, but local media reported later that three more bodies were found.

The collision involving the six-compartment trains took place at 5.02pm near the Fort Totten Station, said Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority general manager John Catoe.

Rescue teams carried injured passengers on stretchers down the tracks as dozens of stunned passengers, safely evacuated from the train, stood by the tracks close to the collision site.

Survivors were helped down off the other carriages by rescue workers. Some were limping and were clearly hurt.

For passenger Abra Jeffers, the crash was a harrowing welcome to the nation's capital, where he was heading home from his first day of work.

"I was on the train that got hit. I thought it was an explosion," Jeffers, 25, said. "I thought it was like the train bombings in London. There was smoke and dust everywhere."

- Sapa-AFP

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