Argentina mourns scores of deaths in train crash

Argentina mourns scores of deaths in train crash

Buenos Aires : Argentina | Feb 22, 2012 at 8:52 PM PST
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Argentina's government announced a 2-day mourning period after a packed train crashed into a barrier at a Buenos Aires railway station on Wednesday. The Argentina train crash left 49 passengers dead and more than five hundred injured. The death toll is feared to rise.

According to authorities, the commuter train was moving at a very high speed when it hit the barrier at the platform end. The crash left the front of the engine smashed and destroyed the coaches. Besides, video from the crash site showed rescue teams forcing to open windows of crashed train cars to rescue trapped commuters.

"The government and people of Argentina give their solidarity and weigh the pain felt by the families of the victims," President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a statement.

The cause of the train crash is yet to be known, but many held a worsening rail system responsible for the incident. According to some passengers, the conductor was trying to do something with the brakes prior to the crash, stating that he continued going beyond platforms and missed one completely.

"Suddenly I heard a bang, and many people fell on top of me. I think I had more than 10 people above me. I got out as quickly as I could," a witness identified only as Esteban told the state news agency. "I only saw injured people and heard scream."

Several of the passengers suffered cuts and majority with minor injuries were waiting on the station’s platforms for ambulances to pick them up. Ambulances and helicopters carried the seriously injured to surrounding hospitals on priority basis, reports said.

According to reports, the train driver has been taken to a medical center, but the worker’s union officials have not yet established contact with him. Ruben Sobrero, union leader, told media people that reports pointing that the crash was caused by the train's failure to stop rapid enough due to brake problems could not be confirmed.

"This machine left the shop yesterday and the brakes worked well," he said. "From what we know, it braked without problems at previous stations. At this point I don't want to speculate about the causes."

The latest train crash was among the most horrible in Argentina's history. In 1970, 200 people were killed when 2 trains crashed north of Buenos Aires.

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Commuters lie on stretchers after being injured when their train crashed into the Once station during rush hour in Buenos Aire
Commuters lie on stretchers after being injured when their train crashed into the Once station during rush hour in Buenos Aire
Kamran Ahmed is based in Seattle, Washington, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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