Train crash Spain to observe 3-day of mourning

By: admin
Updated: 25 Jul 2013 10:23 AM

Madrid: Spanish Prime minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday said
the country would observe three days of official mourning after a train
crash killed at least 78 people in the Galicia region of Spain on
Wednesday evening.

He will sign a decree on Thursday, Rajoy, who is from the region of
Galicia himself, said after arriving at the scene. He was expected to
visit victims in hospital later, Xinhua reported.

Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the Spanish region of Galicia, earlier on
Thursday declared seven days of mourning in Galicia.

The train, which was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol and left the
Chamartin Station in the capital at 3 pm, derailed on a bend at 8:42 pm
after coming out of a tunnel.

At least 13 carriages came off the rails with several lying on the side of
an embankment with several of them catching fire. Reports said that
several of the carriages literally flew through the air.

Both of the train's drivers have survived the accident and will be able to
help resolve the cause of the disaster. But for the moment, the cause of
the crash is not known.

Early indications are that it could be the result of human error, while
some survivors have said the train appeared to be travelling at a high
speed on a curve with a speed limit of just 80 km an hour.

Investigators have indicated the train could have been travelling at 180
km per hour when it came off the rails. One of the drivers was reported to
have confirmed the train took the curve prior to the accident at a speed
of 200 km per hour.

The bend where the accident happened is reported to be the tightest
between the cities of Ourense and Santiago and was described as a
"difficult section" of the track by the ADIF, the company which
administers the infrastructure of Spain's railways.

There are also unconfirmed reports of an explosion on board, just as the
train entered the curve. The Spanish minister of the interior has,
however, ruled out a terrorist attack.

There were 218 passengers plus crew aboard the train, which was especially
full because Thursday is the holiday of St. John in Santiago, the patron
saint of the region of Galicia and the start of a four-day weekend in the

The University Hospital at Santiago appealed for blood donors to help the
victims of the crash and such was the response that all centres in the
city were saturated with donors by 11.30 pm.

It is the worst train accident Spain has suffered in the past 40 years and
the third worst in the country's history, with a higher number of victims
than the head-on collision in Chincilla (Albacete), which claimed 19 lives
in 2003.

The country's worst ever rail accident happened in January 1944 on a train
between Madrid and La Coruna with estimates of victims ranging from the
official figure of 78 to over 500 dead.