Spain blames victims in train crash

2010-06-25 09:03
Castelldefels - Spanish officials blamed summer solstice partygoers for crossing the tracks into the path of an express train that killed at least 13, but others said a new underground exit was poorly marked and an old crossing was blocked off, leaving travellers confused.

In addition to the dead, at least 14 were injured in the beach resort of Castelldefels, south of Barcelona, shortly before midnight on Wednesday as crowds of young people left a train heading for bonfires on a Mediterranean beach. Many jammed the underpass leading to the beach, but about 30 others climbed down from the platform and tried to scurry across the tracks.

They were struck and mangled by a train barreling through the station in northeastern Spain.

Development Minister Jose Blanco on Thursday denied claims the underpass was poorly marked, and insisted that passengers should have known that "you never, never, never cross the tracks".

"Everything pointed to negligence," Blanco added, saying he hoped the tragedy would make riders understand that they must obey station rules.

But Arrellano Ruiz, the Ecuadorean consul in Barcelona, said passengers did not see the signs for the underpass exit and mistakenly headed to an overpass that had been closed since a 2009 renovation.

Victor Morlan, Spain's infrastructure secretary, acknowledged that the overpass has been blocked off since last year but insisted there were enough signs telling passengers how to safely reach the beach.

"It had a sign system that was well made and it had a loudspeaker service that pointed out that the tracks must not be crossed," Morlan said.

The express train also sounded a warning signal as it approached.

Most of the victims were Latin American, but authorities did not identify them or release a breakdown of their nationalities.

Joan Saura, interior minister for Spain's Catalonia region where the crash happened, said the identification of the mutilated bodies "will not be easy and it will not be fast".

Mutilated people

Spain's deadliest train accident since 2003 occurred during a nationwide ritual called Noche de San Juan, or the night of St John, which is held each June 23 just after the summer solstice. People light bonfires in town squares and on beaches, dance around them, drink beer, barbecue food and set off fireworks.

Marcelo Cardona, who was on the commuter train, said everyone had been looking forward to the party.

"The euphoria of getting off the train immediately became screams. There were people screaming, 'My daughter! My sister!"' said Cardona, a 34-year-old Bolivian. He said he saw "mutilated people, blood everywhere, blood on the platform".

Rail crews later had to hose down the bloodied train tracks.

Felipe Elmaji, a 29-year-old Moroccan travelling with Cardona, said he heard a "thump, thump of the train hitting people".

Cardona's sister Candy recalled the train's warning whistle. "It was horrible. I can't get that sound out of my head," she said.

Cardona said the underpass was jammed with the overflowing crowd from the train.

Spanish news agency Europa Press quoted unnamed RENFE officials as saying the express train was traveling at 87mph  and the driver tested negative for alcohol and was in shock. RENFE refused to confirm or deny the report.

Of the 14 injured, one was in extremely critical condition, two were in critical condition, officials said. Except for one woman in her 40s, all of the injured were 19 or younger and two were minors.

A day of mourning was declared in the Catalonia region and King Juan Carlos canceled the annual celebration of his Saint's day.

Spain's worst previous train accident came in 2003, when 19 people died in a collision between passenger and freight trains in the southeastern town of Chinchilla.

- AP
Read more on:    spain
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.