At least 17 people were killed and 37 others injured on Wednesday after a train derailed in eastern Iran after colliding with a bulldozer.

The accident occurred around 5:30 a.m. local time (01:30 GMT) when three railway cars traveling between the cities of Mashhad and Yazd derailed, at the height of the city of Taban.

“Unfortunately, 17 people lost their lives,” Tabas city governor Ali Akbar Rahimi told state television.

The source said the death toll is likely to rise as rescue operations progress.

For his part, a spokesman for the emergency services told state television that at least 37 people have been injured, and that five of them are in critical condition.

The country’s Railway Department said in a statement that the passenger train collided with an excavator, causing it to derail, according to the IRNA news agency.

420 passengers were traveling on the railway and those who have not been injured in the accident have been transferred to the city of Tabas.

Authorities have dispatched emergency teams, including three helicopters and 10 ambulances, to the accident area to assist in rescue operations.

The country’s worst rail accident occurred in 2004 when 320 people died in a train derailment.

In 2019, at least four people died and another 35 were injured in the derailment of another train in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan, in southeastern Iran.

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