STONEHAVEN (Scotland) • A train derailed in eastern Scotland yesterday, killing three people, in what Scottish premier Nicola Sturgeon described as an extremely serious incident.
Six others were taken to hospital but their injuries were not thought to be serious, British Transport Police added in a statement.
"Very sadly, despite the best efforts of paramedics, we can confirm that three people have been pronounced dead at the scene," the statement said, adding that the driver of the train was believed to have been among them.
Dark smoke billowed from a woodland area at the bottom of a narrow valley near Stonehaven, just south of the city of Aberdeen, after the ScotRail train derailed in the morning following heavy rain overnight.
Two air ambulances and about 30 emergency service vehicles could be seen in a field just above the site of the derailment, which appeared to be difficult to access.
"My deepest condolences are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident," said Ms Sturgeon.
Police received reports of a train derailing near Stonehaven at 9:40am local time.
The BBC reported that the train - which was headed for Glasgow - was made up of two locomotives, one at the front and one at the back, and four passenger carriages.
It said the front locomotive and three of the carriages had left the track and were sitting on a river embankment.
Stonehaven and the surrounding area had been hit by floods and some reports suggested a landslide might have played a part in the derailment, although that was not confirmed by the authorities.
Britain has one of Europe's lowest rates of fatal rail accidents, with a stronger safety record than Germany or France in recent years, according to Eurostat data.