Two people have been killed on a French train line popular among tourists. The "Train of the Pines," which runs from Nice to Digne-les-Bain, was apparently struck by a falling boulder and pushed off the rails.
The French train derailed on Saturday morning between the alpine towns of Saint-Benoit and Annot, with officials saying a falling rock struck the train. Preliminary reports suggested that two people were killed and a further nine injured in the accident.
The mayor of Annot, Jean Ballester, told broadcaster i>TELE the two people killed appeared to be tourists taking the picturesque train ride. News reports said the two dead were a French woman from the region and a Russian woman.
The Reuters news agency quoted a source close to the regional government in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur as saying a "rock weighing almost 10 tonnes struck the second carriage of the train."
The train was carrying 34 passengers at the time of the accident. Foggy conditions had made access to the crash site difficult for a major air- and land-based emergency response.
The Train of the Pines takes passengers from the coastal city of Nice in the southeast, through the southern French Alps, to Digne-Les-Bains.
msh/ph (AP, dpa, Reuters)