Police hunt driver of stolen van that caused ‘chaotic’ train crash, injuring passengers πŸ’₯πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸ’₯

Police are searching for the driver of a stolen van which was abandoned on a railway crossing early this morning, causing a commuter train crash that left four people injured.

The northbound, four-carriage train ploughed into the van at Kembla Grange, near Wollongong, about 5am.

The train driver was trapped in the front carriage after it was propelled off the tracks. with passengers said to have been thrown around like they were “on a trampoline”.

The front car of the Tangara locomotive landed on its side next to the station platform, ripping down the overhead wiring.

The driver suffered suspected spinal injuries and was transported to Wollongong Hospital in a stable condition, along with two passengers and the guard.

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NSW train derailment leaves several injured.(ABC News)

Lake Illawarra Police Superintendent Craig Ireland said they were searching for a man who was seen fleeing the vehicle prior to the crash.

β€œA man was seen running from the scene just prior to the collision and he is the focus of the investigation,” he said.

a train carriage on its side next to the track
The train driver was trapped inside and was freed by firefighters.(ABC News)

A crime scene has been established and police say the van was stolen from an address in Flinders, about 20 kilometres away from crash site.

β€œIt doesn’t seem to be a case of a simple breakdown,” Inspector Ireland said.

β€œThe fact that someone has run from the scene prior to it indicates it was either deliberate or some sort of misadventure.”

Sleeping tradies on board

A caller to the ABC, Laurie from Leichardt, said his employee, a tradesman, was on the second car of the train when it derailed.

“He said that there were nine tradies on the train. Most of them lie down because it’s a 4am train and they catch a bit of a sleep,” Laurie said.

The scene where a train derailed
NSW Ambulance said it was a chaotic scene when crews arrived.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

“He said there was a massive bang and they all got thrown around and the carriage in front of his, which was the driver’s carriage, derailed.

“Apparently a car had parked across the tracks and then they saw a man running away.”

Chaotic scene

Earlier this morning, Dean Emery, from Fire and Rescue New South Wales, said the Kembla Grange station would not be operating for “quite a while” while investigations continued and the infrastructure was repaired.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Norm Rees said rescuers had been greeted with a harrowing scene.

A train carriage lies on its side next to another upright carriage.
A derailed train carriage lies on its side at Kembla Grange.(ABC NEWS: Billy Cooper)

“It was a chaotic scene when emergency services first arrived, with the front carriage completely off the tracks and on its side, and the second tilting,” he said.

“The train had brought down power lines, which were draped over the carriages.

The crash came as travellers travelling by train today were warned to expect significant delays as workers take industrial action.

Sydney Trains says the network will be operating at about 30 per cent capacity on a revised timetable that will deliver a basic service.

The Transport Management Centre said buses would replace trains between Wollongong and Albion Park.

Police hunt driver of stolen van that caused ‘chaotic’ train crash, injuring passengers

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