Argentina train crash - 3 dead, 100+ hurt

2013-06-13 17:25
Firefighters work to rescue trapped passengers from a commuter train on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo)

Firefighters work to rescue trapped passengers from a commuter train on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo)

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Buenos Aires - A two-level commuter train slammed into another that had stopped between stations during the morning commute Thursday in a suburb of Buenos Aires, killing three passengers and injuring more than 100.

Passengers who were able to walk stumbled out of the train and walked along the tracks in the pre-dawn darkness, while many others waited for rescue workers to pull them from the wreckage.

At least three passengers were killed, said Carlos Grillo, deputy health secretary in the municipality of Moron.

Four area hospitals were treating the injured, including some with exposed fractures, said Marcelo Marmonto, who directs the Luis Guemes hospital in Haedo.

The two-level train slammed into the back of the other train at 07:07 between the stations of Moron and Castelar on the Sarmiento line, which links the Argentine capital's densely populated western suburbs to the down town Once station.

It wasn't immediately clear why the leading train had stopped between stations, and why the train behind failed to stop in time. Because the accident happened on the outbound tracks, the cars were much less full of passengers than those carrying commuters to work in the city.

Union leader Ruben Sobrero said the two-level train had been out of service for six months and was brought back online shortly before the accident.

Pablo Gunning, a spokesperson for the government-run agency that took over the commuter line after an earlier crash killed 51 people last year, said the engine had new brakes installed and had been approved for service.

After last year's wreck at the Once station, which also injured 700 people, President Cristina Fernandez promised to prosecute those responsible and make new investments in safety.

Worked on brakes

She revoked the concession run by Mario and Sergio Cirigliano, two brothers who own many companies involved in maintaining Argentina's rail systems, and formed a state-supervised consortium of companies to operate the commuter lines.

The Cirigliano brothers are among more than two dozen defendants awaiting trial on criminal charges stemming from last year's crash, but they remain deeply involved in Argentina's train system.

Survivors of that crash complained that it was the Cirigliano brothers' workshop that worked on the brakes of the train that failed to stop in time on Thursday.

"The train that hit the other was repaired in EMFER, which is controlled by the Ciriglianos, the businessmen responsible for the tragedy," said Paolo Menghini, who lost his son Lucas in the Once station crash, according to the local DyN news agency.

"They cannot be sending trains to be repaired at EMFER."

Read more on:    argentina  |  transport

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