At least 77 people dead after train Derails in Spain (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

At least 77 people were killed last night when an express train derailed in northern Spain, with one British citizen confirmed among the injured.
Other passengers were still trapped in the wreckage and there were fears that the death toll could rise as rescue teams continued their grim task of trying to free survivors hours after the accident.
Many of those on board were thought to be travelling to a major religious festival in the nearby city of Santiago de Compostela, site of a Catholic pilgrimage.

         Catastrophe: Injured people are pulled from the wreckage shortly after the derailment 

          Tragic: Emergency crews work to help those who were injured in the Spanish train crash which happened just outside Santiago de Compostela 

People living nearby rushed to the scene with bottles of water and blankets  A passenger with a head wound is helped by a policeman

Support: A citizen and a local policeman rescue an injured survivor   Carnage: People look down from the rail bridge on the aftermath of a devastating train crash in north west Spain


There were 247 passengers on the high-speed train. It was the first fatal accident on Spain’s new High Velocity network.
Early speculation about the cause of the crash centred on excessive speed on a curve.
Those at the scene said bodies covered in sheets lay beside the track as casualties were taken by ambulance to a number of hospitals in the city.
All 13 coaches were derailed and several were almost totally destroyed. Fire broke out in at least one coach and in the engine.
 
The train was en route from Madrid to the naval port city of Ferrol, in the Galicia region. The accident happened at about 8.40pm local time – 7.40pm in the UK – on a bend less than two miles from a scheduled stop in Santiago.
The train was said to be filled with people on the way to the city’s annual St James the Apostle Festival, which was to have begun last night with a massive fireworks display.
The annual ceremony was cancelled as soon as the gravity of the accident became apparent.
A radio reporter on the scene said the whole train had derailed.

 
 
Map locates Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where a 13-car train derailed; dozens killed   Two victims with head wounds - one with his arm in a sling - are helped by a rescue worker  


Prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who comes from the Galicia region, was planning to set out for Santiago. The head of the Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, said it was too early to say what had caused the derailment.
As casualties were taken to hospitals in Santiago and two other cities in the region, authorities appealed for people to donate blood.
Neighbours responded to calls from the police to bring blankets and sheets to the scene along with bottles of water. As darkness fell, generators and emergency lighting were brought in to help the rescue teams.
The derailment is one of the deadliest train crashes in Europe in the past 25 years.
In November 2000, a train packed with skiers caught fire in a tunnel in Austria, killing 155 people.


 
 

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