20230831 railway accident
The railway workers were replacing parts of the track near Brandizzo. (For illustrative purposes only) Image Credit: Pixabay

Rome: Five railway workers were killed in northern Italy after being hit by a train while conducting overnight maintenance works, Italian media reported Thursday.

The train, which was transporting wagons on the Milan-Turin line, was travelling at 160 kilometres (99 miles) per hour when it hit the team replacing parts of the track near Brandizzo, on the outskirts of Turin, the AGI and Ansa news agencies said.

The workers were said to have been dragged for several metres. Two of their colleagues working nearby managed to escape, include the foreman.

Paolo Bodoni, the mayor of Brandizzo, told AGI an emergency worker had described to him a "chilling scene, with human remains across 300 metres".

"It's a huge tragedy," he said.

"It cannot be excluded that there could have been a communication error," he said, adding that an investigation was underway.

The train driver was in shock but otherwise unharmed, Ansa reported.

RFI, the company which manages Italy's rail network, offered its "deep sorrow about what happened and extends its condolences to the families of the deceased workers", in a statement published by news agencies.