Train derailment in Spain leaves almost all of its passengers dead or injured
At least 77 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a high speed passenger train en route from Madrid to Ferrol derailed in north western Spain on Wednesday night.
The incident happened at about 8.40pm local time, near the train station in Santiago de Compostela, about 60 miles south of El Ferrol in northern Spain.
The train was carrying 218 passengers and the Foreign Office has confirmed a British citizen is amongst the injured.
Witnesses have said the train apparently went off the tracks as it took off the sharpest curve along the route near the entrance of the Santiago de Compostela’s main station.
According to media reports the train may have been travelling at more than twice the speed limit around the curve.
Commenting on the tragic incident, the head of the Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo: “The investigations are underway, and that it is too early to say what had caused the derailment.”
The accident happened on the eve of the ancient city’s main Christian festival when thousands of pilgrims flock the city to pay tributes to the remains of St James, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
The apostle’s shrine in the city is the main attraction of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage where people come to pay homage every year since the middle ages. The city’s tourism board have said all festivals planned for Thursday have been cancelled.
The Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has expressed his “affection and solidarity with the victims of the terrible train accident” and is due to visit the scene of the event today.
Yesterday’s derailment is one of the deadliest train crashes in Europe in the past 25 years. It stirs memories of 2004’s train bombing in Madrid’s Atocha station carried out by Islamists which killed 191 people.