12 April 2010

Images of the Italian railway landslide today

Posted by Dave Petley

A landslide (frana in Italian) occurred this morning at Merano, near to Bolzano in northern Italy, striking a train that was derailed.  Reports suggest that 11 9 people were killed and a further 30 were injured.  This is a Google Earth image of Merano with a railway line marked in black, but I am not sure where the accident occurred or even if it is in this image.

Il Giornale has some images of the accident site:

From the look of these images, this appears to be a shallow failure from a slope above a retaining wall.  Early suggestions are that the landslide was triggered by a leaking irrigation pipe, which saturated the soil, triggering failure.  Clearly that is just conjecture at this point.
This type of landslide-induced rail accident occurs occasionally.  I am reminded of this one in China in July last year.