Train derailment kills 35 in Spain
MADRID — A passenger train derailed on a high-speed stretch of track in northwestern Spain on Wednesday night, killing at least 35 people and leaving dozens injured in the country's worst rail accident in decades, officials said.
Officials gave different death tolls in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Alberto Nunez Feijoo, president of the region of Galicia, said at least 35 people aboard the train were killed.
Spain's leading Cadena SER radio station cited the president of the Galicia's main court, Miguel Angel Cadenas, at the scene saying 56 people were killed, but that could not be independently confirmed. The station said three carriages still had to be inspected by rescue workers.
State-owned train operator Renfe said in a statement that 218 passengers and an unspecified number of staff were on board at the time of the accident. Renfe, which did not give a death or injury toll, said the derailment happened at 8:41 p.m. along a high-speed section that had been inaugurated two years ago.
The SER radio station cited unnamed local government officials as saying 100 people were injured, but there were no details on the severity of the injuries.
Feast day festivities planned in the city of Santiago de Compostela, outside of which the train derailed, were canceled, town hall spokeswoman Maria Pardo told Spanish National television TVE.
Sergio Prego, a passenger on the train, told the SER: “The train was going at a very fast speed, and in the curve it went off the tracks, it overturned. We were the lucky ones that were able to get out on our own feet.
“Victims? For sure. I have no idea, but there must be an awful lot,” he said.
A photographer at the scene said he saw dozens of what appeared to be dead bodies being extracted from the wreck by emergency workers. TVE showed footage of what appeared to be several bodies covered by blankets alongside the tracks next to the damaged train wagons and rescue workers entering toppled carriages through broken windows.
The photographer, Xabier Martinez, told The Associated Press that he also spoke to two injured train passengers who said they felt a strong vibration before the derailing.
The accident occurred near the train station in Santiago de Compostela, 60 miles south of El Ferrol, the final destination. Rescue workers were also seen in the television images caring for people still inside some of the wagons.
Television footage showed one wagon pointing up into the air with one of its ends twisted and disfigured. Another carriage that had been severed in two could be seen lying on a road near the track.
The train had started its journey in Madrid. Although it was not an AVE high-speed train, it was a relatively luxurious version that uses the same track as Spain's fastest expresses.
It was Spain's deadliest train accident in decades. In 1944, a train traveling from Madrid to Galicia crashed and killed 78 people. Another accident in 1972 left 77 dead on a track to southwestern Seville, according to Spanish news agency Europa Press.
Officials at the Interior Ministry and the Adif rail infrastructure authority did not immediately answer telephone calls or return messages seeking comment. Officials with Renfe also did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Galicia, both offered their condolences. Rajoy announced he would visit the site Thursday.
Show commenting policy
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.
- ISIS ravages centuries-old archaeological site in Iraq
- Ex-wife of late Argentine prosecutor: Death was a homicide
- Ukrainians told to halt joint drills with U.S.
- Iraq’s pro-Iran Shiite militias lead the war against Islamic State
- Budget reflects stakes for India
- Tikrit battle poses test for Iraqi army
- U.S. ambassador slashed in S. Korea
- U.S. Ambassador to South Korea stable after facial surgery for knife wounds
- Boko Haram attack kills 68, targets children in Nigeria