Three people have died and six were injured after a train came off the tracks in the Scottish countryside, British Transport Police said on Wednesday.
“We can confirm that three people have very sadly died following a train derailment in #Stonehaven this morning,” the transport police said in a statement.
The train driver was believed to be among the dead, although formal identification was pending, the police statement added.
Six people have been taken to hospital but their injuries were not believed to be serious, the police said.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter that her “deepest condolences are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident.”
Sturgeon said she has been regularly updated during the day.
Chief Superintendent Eddie Wylie said the transport police would be “working closely alongside the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and the Office of Rail and Road to establish the full circumstances of how the train came to derail.”
Images from the site of Wednesday’s derailment showed smoke billowing from the scene and a rescue helicopter circling overhead.
Initial reports said there were 12 people on the train, including six passengers and six staff.
The train stopped due to a landslide and moved back along the line
when it crashed into another landslide, according to Britain’s Press Association.
The area was recently hit by heavy rain and flooding.
The Scottish Ambulance Service told the PA that its response included six ground ambulances, an air ambulance, a special operations team and other patient transport vehicles.
The derailment took place in the countryside at around 9:40 am (0840 GMT) near the community of Stonehaven.
“We’re assisting the emergency services with an incident near Stonehaven and will provide more information when available,” train operator ScotRail tweeted.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter he had talked to rail operators. “The UK Government will provide every support,” he wrote.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was “saddened” by the crash.