Horror as train arrives with body stuck on front
Published: 17 Mar 2014 12:41 GMT+01:00
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The body of a cyclist hit by one of France's high-speed TGV trains was embedded into the front of the driver's carriage and carried 40 kilometres (25 miles) before anyone noticed.
Police and the national rail company SNCF were unable to say on Monday whether the 48-year-old man's death was accidental or a suicide.
He was struck by the train on a level crossing in the village of Petit-Croix, near Belfort in eastern France on Sunday, but his body was not discovered until staff and passengers got off at the next stop, in Mulhouse.
"The body was found, stuck to the front right of the train, out of the driver's vision," an SNCF spokesman said, adding that an incident of this kind was "relatively rare".
Although the scenario seems hard to believe one driver told Europe1 radio that he was not surprised, saying that the inside of the driver’s compartment is almost soundproof and although they do hear noises they do not stop the trains at every little impact.
The driver named Michel, who knows the spot where the cyclist was killed said: “After the level crossing the track is straight, but before it there are two curves, so we see nothing at all. This is an area with speed transitions, and we have a lot of manipulation to do inside.
“So we are looking at the speed controls and at the electrical equipment,” he said. “We cannot see a pedestrian by the side of the tracks. If someone throws himself under the train we are completely helpless. This is a train, not a wheelbarrow. It cannot stop in 100 metres,” Michel added.
The remains of the victim's bicycle were recovered by police at the level crossing.
France's TGVs travel at speeds of up to 322 km/h (200 mph) in regular service.