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Fatal Belgian rail accident caused by speeding train: prosecutors

Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian railway accident that killed one person last month was the result of the train traveling at more than double the speed limit, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Another 27 people were injured on Feb. 18 when a carriage jumped off the track and toppled onto its side shortly after the train left the city of Leuven, 25 km (16 miles) east of the capital Brussels.

Leuven prosecutors released an initial assessment from a railway expert who discovered no defects with the carriages, the rails or signals.

The expert's study of the train's black box data found that the train hit a set of points at about 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour), well above the 40 kmh limit, the prosecutors said in a statement.

"The driver said he braked immediately when he saw the points ... but it was then already too late," the statement said.

The driver said he believed the speed limit was 90 kmh and it was possible he had not seen a signal indicating the maximum speed. He has not been charged or arrested. The investigation will continue, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Farah Salhi; editing by Philip Blenkinsop/Mark Heinrich)