By Bill Heaney
The train driver is dead and six passengers plus six crew were seriously injured and taken to hospital after a passenger train crashed off the line at Stonehaven, near Aberdeen.
Three people are said to have escaped unhurt although first responders are searching through the wreckage to check there are no more victims of the 6.38am train from Aberdeen to Glasgow via Dundee.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prefaced her daily remarks about the Covi-19 crisis with an announcement stating that the accident had happened.
She told assembled MSPs in the Holyrood chamber: “A major incident has been declared. The Scottish government’s resilience room is operational.”
Ms Sturgeon said she will chair a meeting this afternoon with partner organisations – with updates on the train accident made available when possible.
The First Minister added: “My immediate thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of everyone across the chamber are with all those involved with this incident. “
She described the accident, which followed thunder storms, torrential rain and flash flooding in the North East as “extremely serious”.
There had been “serious storms” but the “most urgent concern is an extremely serious incident west of Stonehaven.”
Ms Sturgeon said a Scotrail passenger train derailed there earlier this morning and emergency services are currently on site.”
A major incident has been declared.
The FM added that she had spoken to Network Rail and was “afraid to say there are early reports of serious injuries”
British Transport Police said they believed all passengers had been accounted for but a thorough search would continue after the area has been made safe.
An investigation will be carried out. directed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal, to figure out what happened.
British Transport Police’s Chief Inspector Brian McAleese said: “This was a tragic incident and first and foremost our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who have very sadly died this morning.
“I would like to reassure the public this was not a busy service. From CCTV inquiries and witness statements we believe all passengers have been accounted for.
“However, once the area is made safe then a full and thorough search will be conducted.”
He said that the search would take some time and anyone with concerns about friends or family could contact the British Transport Police casualty bureau on 0141 775 5122.
FRIDAY 6pm UPDATE: The train in Wednesday’s fatal crash derailed after hitting a landslip, an investigation has found.
The driver and conductor of the ScotRail train, and one passenger, died in the crash near Stonehaven on Wednesday morning.
Initial findings from the Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) said nine people were on board the train at the time.
The train was returning to Aberdeen after it became clear it could not reach Glasgow due to another landslip further down the line.
After travelling around 1.4 miles, it hit a landslip covering the track before derailing.
As the track curved to the right, the train continued in “a roughly straight line” for approximately 100 yards, until it struck a section of bridge parapet.
The leading power car continued over the bridge, the investigation found, and then fell down a wooded embankment, as did the third passenger carriage.
The first passenger carriage ended up on its roof, as did the second which came to rest on the first.
The fourth passenger carriage remained upright and attached to the rear power car. It also came to rest on the first carriage.
All the wheels on the rear power car derailed but it remained upright, the RAIB said.
The victims of the derailment were named on Thursday. They were driver Brett McCullough, conductor Donald Dinnie and passenger Christopher Stuchbury.
The RAIB is currently collecting evidence needed to identify factors in the cause of the crash.