A collision between a train and an excavator has left 18 people dead in the Eastern Iran.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported at least 18 people dead and 86 others as injured after the train collided with an excavator before going off the rails 50 km (30 miles) from Tabas where it departed.

“Seventeen people are dead and 37 of the 86 injured people have been transferred to hospital,” emergency services spokesman Mojtaba Khaledi told state television. “The number of the dead may rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.

State TV said five of the train’s 11 carriages had tipped over in the early-morning accident. A total of 383 passengers were on board. Mr Khaledi added that “24 ambulances and three helicopters had been dispatched to the scene.”

Jafar Miadfar, the head of Iran’s National Medical Emergency Organization, confirmed in a televised address that so far 18 of the dead passengers had been identified.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi expressed his grief over the derailment and offered his condolences to the families of the deceased, ordering an investigation into the causes of the crash.

“The President contacted the Governor-General of South Khorasan and the Governor of Tabas via phone, and emphasized on mobilizing all facilities to provide assistance to those injured in the train derailment in Tabas,” the statement read.  “Ayatollah Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic incident and wished them patience.”

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