A train traveling at a high speed collided with a stationary train Thursday (photos) on the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro.
The trains collided about 200 meters (yards) from the Austin station near Nova Iguac on Rio's poor north side, said a firefighter who gave his name only as Sgt. Goncalves, in line with company policy.
"We heard there were various victims, including fatalities," he said by telephone. "But all we can say for sure is that the two trains collided head-on."
Civil Defense officials said 60 firefighters were working at the site to remove victims.
"Our priority is to give support to the survivors, the passengers trapped in the wreckage, and reduce the number of fatal victims," Col. Souza Filho, the head of Rio de Janeiro's Civil Defense Department, said in an interview with the Globo TV network.
Souza Filho said preliminary reports were that one train was empty and the other was carrying commuters. He said he didn't have an estimate of the number of victims.
"We have no idea how many people were on the trains," he said.
Trains are widely used to commute to downtown Rio from the city's poor northern outskirts.
Local media reports had said the two engineers were killed, but an official with the Supervia company that operates the train denied the report.
"The two did not die. They were hurt and are in the hospital," said Joao Gouveia, the operational director of Supervia, said.