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Three dead after passenger train derails near Stonehaven

Three people, including the driver, have died after a passenger train derailed in Aberdeenshire.

Aerial footage: passenger train derailment in Aberdeenshire
Aerial footage: passenger train derailment in Aberdeenshire

A major incident was declared and about 30 emergency service vehicles were called to the scene near Stonehaven.

It is thought the train hit a landslide after heavy rain and thunderstorms which caused flooding and travel disruption across Scotland.

Six people have been taken to hospital, although their injuries are not believed to be serious.

The incident involved the 06:38 ScotRail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street.

British Transport Police said the driver’s family had been informed and were being supported by specially-trained liaison officers.

Efforts were continuing to inform the families of the other two people who died.

Ch Supt Eddie Wylie said emergency services were still at the scene dealing with the “major incident”.

“I would like to reassure the public that this was not a busy service and from CCTV inquiries and witness statements we believe all passengers have been accounted for,” he said.

“Once the area has been made safe then a full and thorough search will be conducted, which is likely to take some time.

“I know many people will understandably have questions and we will be working closely alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail and Road to establish the full circumstances of how the train came to derail.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her “deepest condolences” to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in the “tragic incident”.

“My thoughts remain with everyone affected,” she said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said he was “saddened” and that his thoughts were with all those affected.

The train which derailed was made up of two locomotives – at the front and back – and four carriages.

British Transport Police said its officers had been called to the scene at about 09:43.

A few minutes later, Network Rail tweeted that there had been reports of a landslip at Carmont and that services between Dundee and Aberdeen had been halted.

The chief executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, is cutting short his family holiday in Italy to fly back to the UK.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would visit the site on Thursday “to try to understand the situation first hand and offer every possible assistance”.

NHS Grampian confirmed it was on a “major incident footing”, and ScotRail said it was assisting the emergency services.

The RMT union’s Mick Lynch said: “The facts behind this ‎incident will need to be established in due course, but at this stage we are focussed on support and assistance and our thoughts are with all those impacted by this tragedy.”

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser for the Aslef train drivers union, said: “Our thoughts tonight are with all those who died, and who were injured, in the tragic accident.

“While it is too early to speculate about the causes of the crash, it would seem that the appalling weather conditions in the area – the torrential rain – resulted in a landslip which, in turn, caused the train to derail.”

He added that the train had caught fire after rolling down a steep embankment.

Aberdeenshire Provost and Mearns councillor Bill Howatson said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. This is a harrowing time for all concerned.”

A centre for family and friends affected by the incident has been opened by NHS Grampian at Midstocket Church in Aberdeen. Those affected can either visit the church or phone 01224 319519. BBC News

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