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A passenger train derailed during heavy downpours on Monday killing at least seven people, including a two-year-old girl, and injuring scores of others near a Thai coastal resort, officials said.
The overnight train, travelling from southern Trang province to the capital Bangkok, came off the tracks 13 kilometres (eight miles) south of resort town Hua Hin -- a popular tourist getaway and regular retreat of Thailand's king.
"From the information we have now, seven were found dead at the scene. They were all Thais," said Police Colonel Krisna Jamsaweng, chief of Hua Hin's police station.
"Forty-five people were sent for treatment at two nearby hospitals," he said, adding that they were investigating the cause of the incident, which happened at about 4:50 am (2150 GMT) Sunday.
Hua Hin hospital's website said a two-year-old girl was among the dead and six foreigners were injured.
They included a 43-year-old British man with a broken rib and a stomach injury who has undergone surgery, the hospital said. The nationalities of the others was not yet clear.
Montakarn Sivirat, a spokeswoman for the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), said ten people had been killed but police and hospital staff were unable to confirm this figure.
"It was raining heavily when the accident happened," she said, adding that operations were now underway to remove the wreckage from the tracks.
SRT governor Youdtana Tupcharoen said 65 people were injured in total and that their enquiries into the cause were focusing on the last station the express train passed through before derailing.
Although the train did not appear to have hit anything, he told Thailand's Channel Three that they were investigating whether there could have been a signal failure or a human error.
"Questioning is likely to take five days at most. I can say that it was not a faulty train because we carefully check passenger trains," Youdtana added.
Six of the train's carriages derailed and rail services have since been suspended in the south of Thailand, a railway official told AFP.
"We hope we can clear the tracks as soon as possible and we expect the service to resume tomorrow. We are transporting several hundreds of passengers from four trains, including the one in the accident, to Bangkok," the official added.
Workers were using a crane to clear the train debris from the rails after finishing the rescue operation, according to Chavalit Ratanasutikul, head of the local rescue worker unit.
© 2009 AFP
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