Austria's train crash kills one, 10 seriously hurt

VIENNA (AFP) - Two local trains collided head-on in Austria on Wednesday, killing one of the drivers and leaving 10 people seriously hurt including a woman in critical condition, emergency services said.

"In total 10 people were seriously injured," a fire brigade spokesman told AFP after the accident near the southern Austrian city of Graz.

"The damage is considerable so we think the trains were travelling at average speed for this stretch of track. We assume though that the brakes were applied," the spokesman said.

Helmut Wittmann, chairman of local train operator Steiermaerkische Landesbahnen, said at the scene that one of the drivers, who had been stuck inside his cabin after the crash, had died.

"Today we lost one of our colleagues," the Austria Press Agency quoted Wittmann as saying.

The OeAMTC national automobile club and rescue service said that the other driver had been airlifted to hospital, along with a 60-year-old woman who suffered life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash near the train station of the village of Waldstein, 30km north of Graz, at around 10:20am (08:20 GMT) was not clear.

But a spokesman for the train operator said it appeared one of the drivers had not reacted to a stop signal.

The Kleine Zeitung daily reported that one of the drivers may have left Waldstein station too early and without waiting for an oncoming train to pass.

"The situation is still very unclear," police spokesman Leo Josefus said.