Shocking initial estimates for the train derailment atSantiago di Compostela: 77 dead and 143 injured. The accident took place at 8.42pm yesterday, when the high-speed Madrid-Ferrol train was approaching the junction of “A Grandeira”, just 3 km from the town of Santiago. Unfortunately the death toll might rise further, mainly because 6 of the 10 carriages of the train, which was carrying 250 passengers, overturned.
Shocking witness statements abound, like the one from Ricardo, one of the survivors: “The train was travelling very fast and when it reached the bend, it started flipping over, with the carriages ending up on top of each other“. However, another witness claimed to have heard an explosion, which may have been confused with the sound of the crash. Ricardo went on to state: “Lots of people ended up squashed on the bottom of the carriage. My carriage was already on fire before the rescuers arrived. I saw dozens of dead bodies with my own eyes “.
Hundreds of rescue workers were mobilised by Spanish government authorities andarrived promptly on the scene of the accident. The rescue operations, however, have not finished yet and it is expected that the rescue workers will need all of today to extract and transport the dead and injured from the overturned carriages.
For Spain this is without doubt the worst train accident in recent times: many still remember the accident in 1980, when a train travelling between Madrid and Valencia derailed, with the loss of 27 lives.