A train derailment near the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela killed dozens of passengers as rescue workers tried to find survivors in the wreckage.
At least 60 people were killed and more than 100 people injured after the crash, El Pais reported, citing Samuel Juarez, a local government official. Photos and video footage of the scene showed several carriages off the tracks and lying on their side, with rescue workers attending to victims.
The train carrying 218 passengers on the Madrid-to-Ferrol route derailed at 8:41 p.m. local time as it approached the station on a high-speed track, state-owned rail company Renfe said in an e-mailed statement.
It’s Spain’s deadliest train incident since the bombing at Madrid’s Atocha station that killed 191 people in 2004. There appeared to be no indication that the accident was the result of an attack of any kind, the Voz de Galicia newspaper reported, citing Juarez, the central government’s representative for the region of Galicia.
The train was traveling at 220 kilometers (140 miles) an hour, while the speed limit was 80 kilometers per hour, Juarez was cited as saying in El Mundo. El Pais cited unidentified people as saying it may have been traveling above the limit. Neither the government nor the train operator have issued official statements saying how fast it was traveling.
The accident happened between three and four kilometers away from the station, according to a statement from ADIF, the administrator of Spain’s rail network.
The crash occurred on the eve of a Christian festival that commemorates St. James, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, in Santiago de Compostela, a city of about 100,000 people.
“The numbers are provisional, but the injured and victim identification are the priority, ”Alberto Nunez Feijoo, president of the Galician regional government, said in an interview broadcast on RTVE.
The derailment came less than two weeks after a train crash in central France killed at least six and left many hospitalized.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, will travel to Galicia early today, a government spokeswoman said by phone. Rajoy was born in Santiago de Compostela and studied there, according to his profile on the government’s website.
In a statement posted on the Spanish government’s website, Rajoy said the country’s central government is working with the Galician regional administration to “mobilize all its resources” to deal with the emergency situation.
With assistance from Charles Penty in Madrid. Editors: Frank Longid, Kenneth Maxwell. To contact the reporter on this story: Esteban Duarte in Madrid at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vipin V. Nair at email@example.com; Frank Longid at firstname.lastname@example.org.