34 killed in Spanish train crash.

World News

Times Online July 03, 2006

An injured woman is rushed to hospital after a subway train derailed in Valencia (Juan Carlos Cardenas/EPA)

Spain subway train accident kills 34 people
By Sam Knight, Philippe Naughton and agencies

As many as 34 people were killed today when an underground train came off its rails in the Spanish city of Valencia, which is preparing to host a visit by Pope Benedict XVI this weekend.

The fire brigade said that two carriages of the subway train had come off the tracks as it left the Jesus station in the centre of the eastern coastal city shortly after 1pm. Fifteen people are believed to have been seriously injured while a further 150 were evacuated from the scene.

The tragedy immediately brought to mind the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 but an Interior Ministry spokesman said that any terrorist link had been "completely ruled out". He said: "Everything indicates that it was an accident, that the train derailed and was hurled against the walls of a tunnel."

The official spokesman for the Valencian Government, Vicente Rambla, told local journalists that more than 30 people were feared dead. Regional officials put the toll at 34.

The cause of the derailment was unclear, but Señor Rambla said that it was thought to be an accident. Spanish press reports quoted emergency officials saying that a wheel on the train might have broken. Other witnesses said part of the tunnel wall or roof had collapsed and one local official said the train had been going too fast.

The train, on the number one line of Valencia's modern metro system, came off the tracks on a bend leading out of Jesus station, according to El Pais. The first alarm was raised by a passenger calling on a mobile phone - the first of more than 20 emergency calls received from distraught passengers.

Dozens of emergency vehicles are at the scene and the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who is in India, has been informed.

The accident comes as hundreds of thousands of people begin travelling to Valencia for this week’s World Meeting of the Families which will be attended this weekend by the Pope. The public company that runs the Valenia metro, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV), is due to give out more than half a million free travel passes to pilgrims in the coming days.

Today's disaster was thought to be Spain's worst train crash since 1972, when more than 70 people were killed when two trains collided in Seville.


Spain Train Crash on CCTV Camera - YouTube


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