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July 25, 2013

Spain Train Derail Investigation Underway

by Lisa Bryant

An investigation is underway into one of Europe's worst rail disasters, following a train crash in Spain's Galicia region that killed at least 77 people. The crash adds to mounting worries for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is to visit the crash site on Thursday.

Spain's airwaves are filled with the latest details on the train crash that occurred Wednesday night outside the city of Santiago de Compostela on the eve of a major religious holiday there.  

TV stations showed images of twisted metal and bodies. The crash, one of the worst in Europe's history, brings reminders of another Spanish rail disaster -- the 2004 bombing of Madrid commuter trains by Islamists terrorists that killed 191 people.
 
But this time, authorities suspect the Santiago crash was an accident.
 
Investigators have yet to determine the exact cause of the crash, but Spain's El Pais newspaper reports the train had been travelling at more than twice the speed limit when it derailed, several kilometers from the Santiago station.  

Interviewed on Euro news, an El Pais photographer who witnessed the crash said the train had derailed as it turned a corner. He said parts of the train were unrecognizable and there were lots of dead and injured.
 
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The crash is yet another setback for the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which is struggling to revive the country's struggling economy and turn around high unemployment rates.

Rajoy is also fighting intensifying corruption allegations targeting him and other members of his center-right Popular Party.

The Santiago crash follows another major European rail disaster earlier this month. Investigators blame a mechanical error for a train crash in neighbouring France that killed six people and injured dozens of others.