News / Europe

Spain Train Derail Investigation Underway

Spain Train Accidenti
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July 25, 2013
Dramatic video released Thursday shows the moment a train in northern Spain jumped the tracks, killing 77 people and injuring more than 140.

Spain Train Accident

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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.
 
  • A passenger train passes by a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • Luis Verde Remeseiro, director of the Hospital Clinico de Santiago de Compostela, talks to journalists in front of the hospital in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • Rail workers clear the tracks next to a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • A passenger train passes by a wrecked train engine at the site of the train crash in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 26, 2013. 
  • A crane removes a carriage from the tracks at the site of a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 25, 2013. 
  • A relative of one of the victims of the train crash reacts in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 25, 2013. 
  • Victims receive help after a train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. 
  • Rescue workers pull victims from a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. 
  • Emergency personnel respond to a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel treat survivors after a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel respond to a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Emergency personnel at the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Rescue workers pull victims from a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 24, 2013.
  • Rescue workers and officials are seen amongst the wreckage of the train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, early July 25, 2013. 
  • Relatives of the victims involved in the train accident react at a victims' information point in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 25, 2013. 

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.

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