12 killed as train hits revelers crossing track in Spain
At least 12 people were killed when a high-speed passenger train slammed into a group of revelers crossing a railway track in northeastern Spain, regional authorities and media said Thursday.
At least 13 others were injured in the accident at the Castelldefels Playa station south of Barcelona at around 11:30pm (2130 GMT) on Wednesday, the interior ministry of the regional government of Catalonia said in a statement.
Spanish media said the dead and injured were mostly youths who were celebrating the annual San Juan (Saint John) mid-summer festival, which includes bonfires, fireworks, concerts and dances, often on the beach.
Reports said they had just arrived at the station on another train from Barcelona and were crossing the tracks to go to the beach, although the station was equipped with a pedestrian underpass.
One witness, Fernando Ortega, told Spanish media the train they arrived on was "very full" and a large number of people got out at the same time so "most decided to jump across the tracks and cross to the other side of the station" to avoid the crush of people.
It was then that the northbound express train came past suddenly.
The head of the regional emergency services, Josep Maria Soto, told Spain's TV3 television that the cause of the accident is under investigation but "the positions of the first victims we found gives the impression they were hit" by a train as they were crossing the track.
An AFP photographer said a body and some human body parts were visible on the tracks hours after the accident amid dozens of police, medics, firefighters and Red Cross workers.
The interior ministry said the passengers on the train, which was traveling between the eastern cities of Alicante and Barcelona, were unhurt. The rail line was closed following the accident.
Spanish radio said it was the worst rail accident in Spain since 19 people were killed and 38 injured in a June 2003 collision between a passenger train and a freight train in the southeastern town of Chinchilla.
© 2010 AFP