September 1, 2009 / 11:24 AM / 9 years ago

Train collision kills four pilgrims in Portugal

LISBON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A train collision killed at least four passengers in a car crammed with pilgrims travelling to the Fatima shrine in Portugal for a religious ceremony on Tuesday, police said.

Three people in the same car were seriously injured in the accident at an unguarded crossing near the town of Baiao in northern Portugal. The train rammed into the vehicle and pushed the wrecked car in front of it for over 100 metres (yards).

"Clearly, there were too many people in the car, which may have caused the accident," a police officer in Baiao said.

The trip was part of an annual pilgrimage for senior citizens from the region to Fatima, organized by the municipal chamber, the officer said. The car was taking the pilgrims to the nearest bus stop.

One of the victims was mayor of a local village.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is a Roman Catholic basilica, built at the site where three Portuguese shepherd children saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917. Up to four million pilgrims from Portugal and abroad visit the basilica every year. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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