TWENTY cows were left lifeless on the railway tracks after they were hit by a high speed train travelling at 150mph with 240 passengers on board.
Grisly photos from the scene reveal the aftermath of the collision with the stunned livestock lying scattered across the tracks in the French Alps.
One dramatic photo posted to Twitter captured the aftermath of the horrifying accident on the Paris – Lausanne line on Saturday afternoon.
It showed the cattle in the Jura region dead or dying after being hit by TGV (High Speed Train) 9269 at 2.45pm.
Another passenger shared photos from the window of the train, captioning the snaps: “A herd of cows crossed the path of the Lyria TGV … Twenty animals dead or in agony. Terrible.”
The local Le Progres newspaper said the accident happened in La Joux forest after “their enclosure was left open”.
The train was carrying 257 passengers at the time, none of whom were hurt in the collision.
The paper added: “Twenty animals died instantly and six others had to be euthanized because of their heavy wounds.
“A veterinarian and a rendering machine came to help firefighters and gendarmes.”
SNCF, France’s national railway, released a statement, saying: “Several cows were hit by TGV 9269”.
The railway service added that travel was interrupted to make safety checks on the train and passengers needed to disembark the train and walk to a nearby station.
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A spokesman said a full investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the accident.
Questions remain as to whether the accident was a malicious act or if the fence was defective.
The cows were thought to have wandered for at least 8 km before being hit by the train.
The fastest train from Paris to Lausanne in Switzerland, 320 miles away, is 3 hours 40 minutes, and there are five trains a day.
In another tragic railway collision, a mother bear was run over by a train while trying to protect her cubs in Sakha Republic, north-eastern Russia.
Footage shows her trying to help the cubs after they wandered onto the tracks.
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