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HORROR IN SPAIN - 78 dead in high speed rail disaster

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

At least 78 people were killed after a high-speed passenger train derailed in northwestern Spain, injuring more than 100, officials said. Pictures taken at the scene showed a train car snapped in two. Another car was engulfed in flames. Rescue crews and fellow passengers pulled bodies through broken windows and pried open doors. Police were seen escorting bloodied passengers from the wreckage.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - María Pardo Ríos, spokeswoman for the Galicia regional supreme court officially gave the death toll to reporters. In Spain, judges are often called out to the scenes of fatalities.

In addition to the dead and injured, more than 20 injured victims remained in critical condition.

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According to state railway Renfe, the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela. The train had 218 passengers aboard and was nearing the end of a six-hour trip from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed that night.

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It's not yet known how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. The train was capable of going up to 155 miles per hour, railway officials said.

Those who lived near the tracks told reporters that they heard a thunderous bang when the train crashed. Many of them rushed to the area with blankets and bottled water for the injured, the newspaper reported.

"The train had broken in half. Some pieces were on top, some pieces were on the bottom," Ivette Rubiera Cabrera of Florida said. She caught a glimpse of the wreckage while on a family vacation in Spain and sent photos to agencies.

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"It was quite shocking," she said. "We had never seen anything like that. We had just been on the train last week."

Another witness said he saw fellow passengers thrown to the ground, then tossed from one side of the train to the other.

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"Help came in five minutes, but that time became an eternity," he said. "I helped people get out with broken legs and many bruises."

One teenager said he had been walking nearby and saw passengers helping each other out of the train. Emergency vehicles swarmed the scene. There were several bodies on the ground, he said.

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