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Thieves 'stole from victims of train crash'

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Thieves 'stole from victims of train crash'
Rescue workers were reportedly pelted with stones and thieves stole personal belongings from the victims, a new report alleges. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
15:05 CEST+02:00
Callous, opportunistic thieves from Brétigny-sur-Orge, where a train derailed killing six people last Friday, threw stones at police and rescue workers and stole possessions from accident victims, an explosive new police document has alleged.

The contents of the document, revealed by Le Point magazine on Thursday, said individuals from the southern Paris suburb “hampered the progress of rescue vehicles by throwing projectiles at them.”

Hundreds of police and paramedics rushed to the scene last Friday after an Intercity train from Paris to Limoges derailed in the station in Bretigny, leaving six dead and dozens of passengers injured, nine of them critical.

Riot police, who were out in force to secure the area around the scene of the intercity train accident, had to push back the individuals, the report said.

“Certain trouble-makers had succeeded in seizing personal possessions scattered on the ground or on the victims themselves,” says the document from the CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité), a unit of the French National Police.

Earlier this week four people were arrested on suspicion of stealing a mobile phone from a rescue worker.

And the new CRS report supports what the Alliance Police Nationale union has stated about “problems” at the accident site.

If it is confirmed by the investigation, it will show the attitude of those who have accused the union of lying and manipulation is “shameful, scandalous and inadmissible,” a spokesman for the police union is quoted as saying by AFP.

However, the union has been accused of exaggerating the facts. 

A police source interviewed by AFP called for prudence over the contents of the report. He said an investigation is under way to verify the claims by means of interviewing emergency personnel and police on the scene, along with studying video footage taken at the time.

Another police source told Le Figaro: "There could have been some projectiles thrown when the police put up the security cordon. But the situation was quickly calmed.

So far, authorities have officially denied there were any thefts from passengers while police have stated publicly that no passengers have reported any crime.

Immediately following the crash, many journalists who were on the scene reported the rock throwing, but this was later downplayed by Red Cross and ambulance service officials who said they were able to work in a “totally normal fashion”.

On Friday, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the MP for the Essonne region, where the accident took place, demanded an explanation over the reports.

Morizet said she felt "disgust and horror" on reading the report. "There is a vulturistic side to this incident - people trying to take advantage of a tragic situation.

"We were told [by the Minister of Transport] that this was an isolated incident. But it now appears more serious than that. If the government has tried to cover this up, its a real problem," the candidate for mayor of Paris added.

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