One year since train crash killed 7 outside Paris
The crash happened in an instant one year ago on Saturday in the outskirts of Paris, but the image of a mangled intercity train has left an indelible image on the survivors.
“I clung on with my arm to keep from falling and when I looked down, I saw a passenger, half their body disappeared in a few seconds,” said Manou N’Diaye, a survivor who spoke to Le Monde newspaper.
Packed with 385 passengers, the train travelling from Limoges to Paris derailed some 32 kilometres from the capital and beneath a cloud of dust, split into two.
The train – No. 3657 – veered off the track as it entered the Brétigny-sur-Orge station.
Cars ploughed into each other as it smashed into the platform, leaving seven people dead and dozens injured.
Last week, investigators cited a rail joint that worked loose gradually from a track in the absence of proper maintenance, but ruled out the accident as a “malicious act.”
More than 200 irregularities of varying degree were spotted on the surveyed stretch of track and had not been dealt with adequately.
One year on from the accident, 32 passengers of the 177 who reported physical or psychological injury have accepted an offer of compensation, according to report by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Passengers have not been the only victims of psychological trauma over the past year.
SNCF employees are often quoted as saying "before and after Brétigny".
“I think of all of these people,” reportedly said the driver of the train during a ceremony on Saturday. “I think of them, that’s all.”