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Train Derailment In Spain Leaves Dozens Dead

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Antonio Hernandez
El Correo Gallego via AP
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Update at 3:20 a.m. Thursday: Death Toll Rises

The Associated Press reports that 77 people were killed when a train derailed in northwestern Spain, according to Maria Pardo Rios, spokeswoman for the Galicia region's main court. Four died at hospitals, while 73 were found dead at the scene, she said.

Our Original Post Continues:

The Spanish newspaper El País paints a bloody picture of the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Wednesday.

Bodies, the paper reports, are strewn near the rails, as emergency personnel attempt to rescue others stuck inside the mangled remains of commuter train carriages.

Authorities say at least 56 people are dead and RENFE, the state railway company, said the train derailed while traveling on high-speed rails between Madrid and Ferrol. The train was carrying 218 passengers plus its crew.

The Spanish television station TVE reports eight carriages derailed while taking a curve. The train may have been fairly full, TVE reports, because the autonomous area of Galicia celebrates its national holiday on Thursday.

TVE has posted video. It's in Spanish, but it gives you an idea of the chaos and scope of the accident:

El País has also added video that shows emergency workers and passersby breaking the windows of rail cars in order to help trapped victims. TVE reports that some victims were driven to hospitals in private vehicles.

Of course, this train derailment comes on the heels of two other major rail accidents. In France, eight were killed earlier this month and in Canadaa derailment near Quebec left 50 dead.

Reuters reports that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was due to visit the site of the accident.

"Rajoy is in an emergency meeting with the deputy prime minister, the interior minister and the public works minister," a Spanish spokeswoman told Reuters. "He will visit the site tomorrow morning."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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