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Reuters - USA: Police combed a wreckage-strewn ravine on Tuesday for passengers still missing from Montenegro's worst train accident

Published date: 25.01.2006 14:25 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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By Zorana Vucicevic
IOCE, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Police combed a wreckage-strewn ravine on Tuesday for passengers still missing from Montenegro's worst train accident, which killed 44 people when packed carriages plunged into a river gorge.

Almost 200 people were injured, over half of them children.

Many of them were returning from skiing trips when the train derailed and rolled down into the Moraca canyon on Monday afternoon. A junior basketball team on board was going home to the Adriatic port of Bar from training in the north.

The train derailed at Bioce, about 10 km (6 miles) outside the capital, Podgorica. Trees slowed the front coaches as they plunged into the rock-strewn gorge and came to rest 40 metres (yards) from the river below.

The head of the police rescue team, Zoran Begovic, said the main part of the search was complete.

"We have combed every centimeter, but noone can say that there's nobody else out there somewhere," Begovic said. "There are still families who have reported relatives missing. As long as some persons are unaccounted for we will look for them."

Reuters reporters at the scene saw one coach lying on its side, the roof gaping like an open sardine can. Another carriage was split in half, its metal crushed and twisted. Blankets, shoes, jackets and school books were strewn all over the site.

In Podgorica, hundreds of people spent part of the night waiting for news in front of the main hospital. A tent was erected and relatives filed in to view bodies. People milled around lists of injured posted on hospital windows.

One girl on the train gave birth prematurely due to stress.

"I feel much better now. The baby weighs 2.45 kgs (five and a half pounds)," the 17-year old mother told Reuters at the maternity ward. "I was heading for Bar. I did not expect to go into labor just yet."