Reports: At least 20 dead after train crash in Spain

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-24 18:11:27-04

From Al Goodman, CNN

MADRID (CNN) — A train crash in northwestern Spain Wednesday killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more, a senior aide to Spain’s prime minister told CNN.

Investigators are looking at all possible causes of the crash, the aide said; their initial assessment is that it likely wasn’t the result of terrorism.

Pictures of the scene showed at least one train car snapped in two and another one of the train’s cars on fire.

State railway Renfe said the train derailed on a curve as it was approaching the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The high-speed train had 218 passengers aboard and was traveling from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m., the railway said.

The chief spokesman for Renfe said he did not know how many crew members were aboard. Normally there would be at least five crew members on a train like that, he said.

It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. The train was capable of going up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), the spokesman said.

Alen Perez, 16, said he had been walking nearby and saw several passengers and witnesses helping each other out of the train.

Emergency vehicles swarmed the scene. There were several bodies on the ground, and about 50 people injured, he said.

Photos he took of the crash site showed mangled pieces of a train car and black smoke billowing out of the wreckage.

Firefighters, police and psychologists were at the scene, the Galicia government said in a statement. In Twitter posts, officials said blood donations were needed as a result of the crash.

Spain’s airport authority said it was investigating.

“The efforts now center on searching for bodies and victims that could still be alive in the wreckage of the cars,” journalist Ignacio Carballo from the Voz de Galicia newspaper told CNN en Español.

CNN’s Elwyn Lopez and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.