5 die, 20 missing in Spanish rail crash
AT least five people have been killed and 20 are missing after a goods train and passenger train crashed in south-east Spain.
The crash near the city of Albacete late last night was the latest in a series of train accidents in Spain in recent months.
State railway company RENFE said the accident looked to have been caused by human error when the Talgo train was given the go-ahead to leave the station at Chinchilla and moved on to the single-line track into the path of the oncoming goods train.
The accident is the fourth this year involving a Talgo, the workhorses of Spain’s long- distance railway system. In January, a train was derailed on the same line from Madrid to Cartagena, also near Albacete, killing two people.
Firefighters battled a fierce blaze in one of the train’s carriages following last night’s crash. Clouds of smoke billowed from the site, but initial fears of a toxic spillage were later ruled out.
The fire was eventually extinguished, but the rescue effort was suspended overnight because of the heat.
Blood-spattered passengers, several with facial injuries, walked around dazed or were treated at the scene, and many of the 86 passengers were taken to hospital in Albacete.
By this morning, a large crane was in place at the side of the railway line, while rescue workers and forensic investigators began to pick over the wreckage behind a cordon of screens.
The passenger train, which had been travelling to the coastal city of Cartagena from Madrid, had 86 passengers and four crew on board. The 28- wagon goods train had two crew on board, RENFE said.
A local government official told Antena 3 television that more than 30 people had been treated for injuries, but no deaths had been confirmed as yet.
"This was a head-on crash, either because of a technical or human error. No bodies have been recovered but we suspect there are several dead, although we can’t confirm anything," he said.
The passenger train had been travelling to the south-eastern coastal city of Cartagena from the capital Madrid.
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