Several seriously hurt in Dutch train crash with milk truck

Rescuers work near a derailed passenger train after a crash with a milk tanker near Winsum, on Nov 18, 2016.
Rescuers work near a derailed passenger train after a crash with a milk tanker near Winsum, on Nov 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP
A policeman walks near a derailed passenger train and a smashed milk tanker after a crash near Winsum, on Nov 18, 2016.
A policeman walks near a derailed passenger train and a smashed milk tanker after a crash near Winsum, on Nov 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Eighteen people were hurt on Friday (Nov 18) when a train partly derailed after smashing into a milk tanker in the northeastern Netherlands, police said.

"Eleven people were taken to hospital. Three of them were seriously injured but their lives are not in danger," spokesman for the local Groningen crisis team, Cyriel Hamstra, told AFP.

Only about 40 people had been on the train at the time of the crash, he added.

The tanker truck was leaving a farm in the rural area of Winsum and "was probably driving over an unguarded railway crossing when it was hit by an oncoming train", Groningen police said on their Twitter account.

"There were no barriers. And for some reason, the driver obviously didn't see the train and drove across the crossing," said Hamstra.

The driver of the truck was only slightly injured and was arrested and "taken to the police station". He would be treated "as a suspect once a lawyer arrives", the Groningen police said on Twitter.

A police investigation has been opened into the crash to discover "the exact circumstances" of what happened.

Television images from the NOS public broadcaster showed the first few carriages of the train had derailed, and it was partly tipped onto its side in an area of fields, flanked on one side by a canal.

Special equipment would need to be brought to the site to remove the damaged train, and "the line will be closed for a certain amount of time because it is damaged", said Hamstra.