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  1. ITV Report

'Six killed' in Paris train crash

The SNCF said the train was carrying about 385 passengers Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

A train carrying hundreds of passengers has derailed and crashed into a station outside Paris, killing at least six people and leaving nine in a critical condition, France's interior ministry said.

Some 300 firefighters, 20 medical teams and eight helicopters were deployed to get survivors out of the wreck at Bretigny-sur-Orge station, while President Francois Hollande rushed to the scene.

Hollande said an inquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the accident, which left around 190 people injured or in treatment for shock.

Some of the train cars slid toward the station, crushing part of the metallic roof over the platform. It was unclear whether all the casualties were inside the train, or whether some had been on the platform, or how fast the train was traveling.

The French president was on the scene soon after the accident Credit: REUTERS/Kenzo Tribouillard

The head of the SNCF rail authority, Guillaume Pepy, called it a "catastrophe."

The train's third and fourth cars initially derailed, which then knocked the other cars off the track, Pepy said.

Witness Bazgua El Mehdi, 19, told Le Parisien newspaper:

I heard a loud noise. A cloud of sand covered everything. Then the dust dissipated. I thought it was a freight train, but then we saw the first casualties ... Many passengers on the (train) were crying.

Francois Hollande said around 190 people were injured or in treatment for shock Credit: Twitter/ @AichaKurdish

The SNCF said the train was carrying about 385 passengers when it derailed on Friday evening at 5:15pm and crashed into the station at Bretigny-sur-Orge, about 12 miles south of Paris.

The train was travelling from Paris to Limoges, a 250-mile journey, and was about 20 minutes into the scheduled three-hour journey.

The accident came as France is preparing to celebrate its most important national holiday, Bastille Day, on Sunday.