Two trains, one of them without a driver, were in a high-speed collision in southern Spain, killing at least 14 people and injuring many more.
Two trains, one of them without a driver, were in a high-speed collision in southern Spain, killing at least 14 people and injuring many more. The accident happened in morning fog outside the small town of Las Franquesas Del Valles, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Barcelona.
SYNOPSIS: The events which led to the disaster began some kilometres (miles) away at a small station further up the line. For unknown reasons, an empty train began rolling out of the station, and quickly gathered speed down a steep incline. The impact with the stationary train, crowded with passengers, left at least 14 dead and about 60 injured, many of them seriously. A large number of ambulances converged at the scene and rescue efforts were still being made several hours later to save passengers trapped in the wreckage of the train's five coaches. Motorists in private cars also helped take the injured to hospital.
Among the passengers were children on a school outing. The collision occurred after desperate efforts by railway workers to halt the runaway train. They tried to block the line in front of it, and to switch the points to divert it onto a sliding. These efforts failed, but the passenger train with 100 people on board was halted by switching off the electric power.
The Governor of Barcelona and senior railways official from madrid visited the scene. And soon after the accident cranes were brought to lift the mangled coaches to allow rescuers to probe for possible survivors under the wreckage. Investigators are studying how the runaway train could have broken loose. With many people seriously injured, the death toll was expected to rise.