Many migrants among victims of Spanish rail tragedy

25th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Most of the 13 people killed in the rail tragedy in Spain were South American immigrants and experts are struggling to identifying some of the badly mutilated remains, a regional official said Friday.

Nine of those killed have so far been identified: five from Ecuador, two from Bolivia and two from Colombia, said the justice minister of the Catalonia region, Montserrat Tura.

She said forensic experts are examining the remains of the four others killed when an express train slammed into the revellers as they crossed a railway track in northeastern Spain on Wednesday night.

The impact of the collision left the bodies badly mutilated.

"There is one body, or human remains, which will be very difficult to identify," Tura told a news conference.

Fourteen people were also injured in the accident, 10 of whom remain hospitalised Friday including three in critical condition, the regional government said in a statement.

El Pais newspaper said one of the two Colombians killed, 33-year-old Mauricio Osorio, had survived the 1985 eruption of a volcano in his country in which most of his family were killed.

The accident happened as about 30 people who had got off a local train at the Castelldefels Playa station, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Barcelona, tried to cross the tracks just before midnight.

They were heading to a party on a beach for the annual San Juan festival that celebrates the start of the summer in parts of Spain and which includes bonfires, fireworks and dancing.

A passenger train travelling to Barcelona from the southeastern city of Alicante ploughed into the group on the tracks.

The Spanish government has blamed the tragedy on the "recklessness" of those crossing the tracks.

But a footbridge over the tracks was closed and an underpass quickly became filled with the hundreds of people who got off the local train.

One survivor, named as Quini, a 20-year-old Ecuadorian, said many were not aware of the underpass.

"About half of us, like me, did not know there was an underpass because we hadn't been there for a long time and there was no sign," he told El Pais.

"The train had no lights, it whistled and then ran over people.., I saw body parts flying through the air," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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