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Mechanical Error May Have Caused French Crash

Fuzeau gave the latest casualty figures, saying that in addition to the dead, 22 people remained hospitalized, two of them in a life-threatening state. Nearly 200 people had initially been treated for injuries, either at the scene or at hospitals.

The crash was the country's deadliest in years, but Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said it could have been worse and praised the driver who sent out an alert quickly, preventing a pileup. However, Cuvillier acknowledged that there was some criticism that France hasn't invested enough in maintaining infrastructure.

Willy Colin of the Rail Users Association was among those who claimed the Paris-Limoges inter-city line was neglected in favor of more high-profile fast-train lines. He said on BFM-TV that trains on the line were among the oldest, calling them "garbage trains."

The transport minister said no link can immediately be made between the state of the line and the accident.

"For the moment we have no information that allows us to confirm that the dilapidation of the network was the cause of this derailment," he said on French television.

___

Ganley reported from Paris. Associated Press writer Sarah DiLorenzo also contributed to this report from the French capital.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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