At least forty-nine people are dead and approximately six hundred are injured after a train derailed during the morning rush hour in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province:
Police spokesman Fernando Sostre told the local press that the train from the neighborhood of Moreno crashed into a platform at the Once train station at approximately 8:30 AM. Moreno added that the collision “caused all the inertia and energy to impact the first eight railcars with the greatest impact hitting between the first and second cars.”
Eyewitnesses reportedly told the local press that first car, reserved for passengers who use bicycles, was a “tangled mess of steel and glass” as a result of the accident. “There were a lot of people hurt, a lot of kids, elderly,” said one person to Reuters.
According to Transport Minister Juan Pablo Schiavi the accident occurred when the train’s brakes failed as it approached the station and the convoy crashed through the buffers at the end of the line. Nonetheless, Schiavi noted that “everything was filmed” by closed circuit cameras at the station and this will “facilitate the investigation” into the crash.
The train involved in today’s crash was allegedly imported to Argentina forty or fifty years ago and was not properly maintained according to local labor leaders. “We have been denouncing for many years the (poor) state of the rolling stock,” said Rubén Sobrero with regards to the supposedly outdated and poorly maintained equipment in the Argentine rail system.
Over the past year there have been a handful of train crashes and derailments that have killed at least thirty people and left hundreds injured. This year alone two people died in reportedly overcrowded trains though it's unknown if the train involved in this morning's crash held more passengers than it's intended to carry.
Until today the deadliest accident from the past twelve months happened last September when eleven people died in a collision at a train crossing in the Buenos Aires suburb of Flores.
Update: The death toll from Wednesday's train accident has increased to fifty and their are officially 676 people injured.
"There are amputees and people who have had cardiorespiratory arrests. Everything you can imagine from a situation like this," said Alberto Crescenti, the president of Argentina's emergency care system.
According to the EFE news agency, the eight-car train that crashed held approximately 1200 passengers and traveled at about thirteen miles per hour when it entered the station. Furthermore, "hundreds of passangers traveled standing up and near the train's doors" in order to quickly jump off the train and onto the platform of the very busy Once station.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner cancelled several official events including one that was reportedly going to address Argentina's claims to the Falklands Islands. She also declared Thursday and Friday as dual days of mourning.
In the aftermath of the accident, the Kirchner administration has come under fire by opposition politicians including legislators who called for the prompt resignation of Transport Minister Juan Pablo Schiavi.
Video Source – YouTube via euronews
Online Sources (including Update) – La Nacion, El Universal, BBC News, El Tiempo, 20minutos.es, Clarin, GlobalPost, El Pais, Diario ABC Color, lanacion.com, Cadena 3