Yesterday night, July 25th, a passenger train derailed in northwestern Spain, killing more than 70 people and injuring 140 more.
According to authorities this is the worst rail accident in Spain in the past 40 years. The train was carrying more than 200 passengers and was traveling to Ferrol in the Galicia region from Madrid, when it derailed on a curve 3 km from the Santiago de Compostela station. The last confirmed number of deaths was 79 and 140 injured.
Officials said that the rear engine of the train caught fire and one of the wagons was hurled up a hillside for about 5 meters. The scene was horrific, and pictures showed bodies covered with blankets next to the tracks. The area hospitals are filled with injured people, some with light injuries, some still in surgery hours after the accident.
Ironically, the train was filled with pilgrims coming to celebrate a festival honoring St. James. Santiago de Compostela officials cancelled the ceremonies which were to take place today.
“The train traveled very fast and derailed and turned over on the bend in the track,” passenger Sergio Prego told Cadena Ser. “It’s a disaster. I’ve been very lucky because I’m one of the few be able to walk out.”
Officials said that although they believe this was an accident, they will continue the investigations, to find the cause of this awful tragedy.
Update: Police forensic managed to recover the black box from the train which killed 79 people, and discovered that it was traveling at twice the speed limit at the moment of the accident. The speed limit in that area was 80kph (50mph) and the train was traveling at 179kph (111mph).