“Train crash in Halle” read the sms snap from a local newspaper we received on Monday morning. I called photographer Thierry Roge who was not too far from the scene and managed to arrive there within 15 minutes, while I organized a helicopter flight over the scene of the crash. Thierry had the initiative to jump over a wall beside the tracks and start walking straight to the train, on the track itself. For 10 minutes he was free to take pictures without being stopped by police who were busy rescuing people. Thierry and a Belgian TV crew were the only ones so close to the train at that time.
Emergency crew work on the site where two trains crashed near Halle February 15, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge
A man, apparently a plainclothes police officer, was featured in some of Thierry’s first pictures carrying a young girl wrapped in a blanket and walking in his direction. As they got closer, Thierry managed to photograph them with the train in the background, making the key picture of the day.
At this stage we have no news of what happened to the young girl.
Many newspapers worldwide used this picture as an iconic image of the crash. Our coverage of this tragedy was well organized and produced a very high profile file. Our photos from the ground and the sky made front pages and inside pages of dailies around the world.