By Janusz and Chmielewski
SZCZECHOCINY, Poland, March 4 (Reuters) - Fourteen people were killed and at least 54 injured when two trains collided head-on in one of Poland’s worst train crashes in several years.
Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki, who rushed to the crash site in Chalupki in southern Poland along with Prime Minister Donald Tusk, said that 14 were killed in the crash late on Saturday evening.
Hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene, where television footage showed some of them clambering into the mangled wreckage of a green-and-cream coloured carriage which had jack-knifed upwards from the force of the crash.
“The rescue is difficult and complicated,” firefighter Jaroslaw Wojtasik told Polish television.
“The damage to the wagons is huge. We have contact with victims. We are approaching very cautiously.”
“I felt the blow,” said an unnamed survivor. “I hit the person before me. The lights went out. Everything flew. We flew over the compartment like bags. We could hear screams. We prayed.”
With some passengers still trapped inside the wreckage, the injured were carried away on stretchers while others huddled under blankets.
The cause of the collision, which Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak described as “one of the worst railway accidents of the last few years”, was not immediately clear.
One of the trains had been going from Warsaw from to the town of Krakow and the other from the Polish capital to the town of Przemysl.
Reporting By Karolina Slowikowska; Editing by Myra MacDonald