Share This Page

Commuter train crash kills 3, injures hundreds near Buenos Aires

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 9:42 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
Rescue workers are seen at the site of a commuter train crash in Castelar, some 30 kms west of Buenos Aires, on June 13, 2013. At least three people were killed and 70 injured on Thursday when a commuter train crashed west of Buenos Aires, according to the municipality of Moron, where the accident took place. AFP PHOTO/NA/Santiago PandolfiSANTIAGO PANDOLFI/AFP/Getty Images

BUENOS AIRES — A speeding commuter train slammed into another that had stopped between stations during the morning commute on Thursday in suburban Buenos Aires, killing three passengers and injuring more than 300 on a line that has been under government control since a deadly crash last year.

The state-run train agency dismissed possible brake failure as a cause and suggested that the conductor was at fault.

Satellite images show the train had braked normally at the previous station, and then rolled past four functioning warning signals without stopping before the crash, the agency said. “Before a warning signal, the conductor should completely stop the formation, a situation that did not happen.”

Instead, the train accelerated continually from the moment it left the previous station, reaching a speed of 38.5 mph on impact, Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo said. That's three times faster than the speed on impact of the train that crunched into the downtown Once station on the same line in 2012, killing 51 passengers and injuring more than 700.

The conductors and their assistants on both of the trains involved in the crash were ordered detained by a judge for investigation on charges of “wreaking havoc followed by death,” the state news agency Telam reported.

Randazzo asked for patience and vowed that those found responsible will be punished. He said that the train workers passed alcohol breathalyzer tests before their shifts, a safety measure the government imposed after the previous crash.

“I feel rage, and impotence,” President Cristina Fernandez said, adding that she doesn't want to blame anyone in particular just yet. “I want the justice system to say what happened.”

Argentina's independent auditor general, Leandro Despouy, who delivered a blistering report on the causes of last year's crash, suggested that the problems are systemic, due to many years of mismanagement, corruption and disrepair.

“We've been warning that this tragedy could happen again,” Despouy told Radio de la Red. “Today it's a courageous move to travel by train.”

The train slammed into the back of another at 7:07 a.m. between the stations of Moron and Castelar on the Sarmiento line, which links the Argentine capital's densely populated western suburbs to the downtown Once station.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.