35 dead, 50 injured in train derailment
25 July 2013, 08:27
Spain - At least 35 people were killed and 50 injured when a train
derailed on the outskirts of the northern Spanish city of Santiago de
Compostela on Wednesday in one of the country's worst rail disasters.
covered in blankets lay next to carriages as smoke billowed from the
wreckage a few hundred metres away from the entrance to the city's main
The train derailed on the eve of the ancient city's main
Christian festival when thousands of pilgrims travel in to pack the
"It was going so quickly... It seems that on a curve the
train started to twist, and the wagons piled up one on top of the
other," passenger Ricardo Montesco told Cadena Ser radio station.
lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of
the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realised the train was
burning... I was in the second wagon and there was fire... I saw
corpses," he added.
Another witness told the radio station she had heard an explosion before seeing the derailed train.
spokesperson for the regional government's office described the
derailment as an accident. But the wreckage will stir memories of 2004's
Madrid train bombing, carried out by Islamists, that killed 191 people.
"We can confirm there was an accident, but we cannot confirm mortalities as yet," the official told Reuters.
head of the surrounding Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, said at
least 35 people had died and it was too early to say what had caused the
The crash happened a day before the city's main festival paying tribute to the remains of St James, one of Jesus' 12 disciples.
apostle's shrine in the city is the destination of the famous El Camino
de Santiago pilgrimage, followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.
The city is also the birthplace of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
No one was immediately available to comment from Spanish train operator Renfe whose logo was visible on the wrecked carriages.