Argentina - Survivors of a deadly commuter train wreck inside a
Buenos Aires railroad station said the crash sent passengers flying
inside the cars, sometimes even into the next train car.
were torn loose from the carriage floors and panicked survivors broke
windows to escape Wednesday's accordion-like wreckage.
windows burst, people screaming," a man who was in the first car told
the Argentine TV channel TN. "People piled up on top of me."
followed the accident, which killed at least 49 people. Scores of
injured were still fighting for their lives in hospitals in the
Argentine capital while hundreds of people tried to locate their missing
loved ones at hospitals.
Authorities launched an investigation into the cause of the rail accident.
train, which reportedly had brake problems, entered Once station in
central Buenos Aires at an unusually high speed of more than 20km/h,
Transport Minister Juan Pablo Schiavi said.
It slammed into the bumper at the end of the line, and the second car in the eight-car train crushed 7m into the first.
A minor fire followed, and scores of people were trapped in the entangled wreckage.
injured mostly suffered broken bones with many being thrown through the
train by the force of the collision and crushed by falling passengers.
took rescue teams more than four hours to free all the survivors from
the wreckage with heavy equipment they used to peel away the roofs and
the sides of the damaged cars.
Hours before any official
confirmation of deaths, surviving passengers warned early on that they
had seen bodies of victims crushed inside the train and many others
covered in blood.
Trains on the Sarmiento line serving the
western Buenos Aires suburbs are usually packed during rush hours with
aisles full of riders standing between the seats.
50 in critical condition
trains approach the station, passengers crowd the front cars to be
among the first to get out and beat the other passengers to the
connecting subway and buses.
Ambulances and helicopters descended
on the station and spent hours rushing hundreds of the injured to
hospitals, where up to 50 people were believed to be in critical
condition. Alberto Crescenti, chief of Buenos Aires' emergency health
services, warned that the death toll could rise.
outside hospitals, and city officials set up counselling services at the
station and hospitals. There were widespread complaints that phone
lines were jammed when people tried to call hospitals to inquire about
their loved ones.
Survivors reported nothing unusual about the
train trip prior to the accident. The train had recently undergone an
inspection and had been returned to service on Tuesday.
driver was alive when freed from the wreckage, and authorities hoped he
might shed light on the cause of the accident. Investigators were
trying to recover the train's onboard data recorder.
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