BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Saturday, a commuter train in Argentina’s capitol, Buenos Aires, smashed into a busy station at the end of the line, leaving a reported 79 people injured. It has been approximately one year since a crash in the same spot killed 52 people.
Wedged between the platform ceiling and floor, the first car of the train was impaled on the station’s bumper. The accident occurred at the Once Railway Station and as of yet the cause remains unclear and no official statements have been released.
Associated Press reported that one passenger said the driver had overshot many platforms throughout the course of the scheduled route and that people were “piled on top of each other.” However, other passengers aboard the train reported no irregularities and stated that the train had been on course until it crashed.
The train’s injured driver was taken to a hospital but is in police custody until the exact cause can be determined. The passengers from the crashed train were reported to have shouted “Murderer, murderer!” through the broken windows at the driver prior to his being removed and taken to the hospital.
The injured passengers were reported to have had no critical injuries, though at least five were said to have endured broken bones. The glass that shattered shot Shards of shattered glass shot through the interior of the car and exploded outward, striking passengers as well as some people standing on the platform, according to a brief statement from National Security Secretary Sergio Berni.
Berni also stated that it is far too soon to know the reasons why the train crashed through the bumper. The first versions of the story reported that the train failed to stop, just like the February 2012 train crash; but until officials have investigated thoroughly, these accounts remain only speculation.
On February 22, 2012, another commuter train at the same station crashed killing 49 people and injuring over 600. This crash occurred after a series of crashes the prior year, though this one was the deadliest.
The train was carrying over 800 passengers when it entered the train station going approximately 16 miles per hour and smashed into the platform, eradicating the train’s engine.
February’s crash led to a criminal investigation that found more than two-dozen suspects, including former government officials. The investigation led officials to accuse the suspects of mismanagement and fraud.
Saturday’s crash, though not as tragic, saw a swarm of angry passengers and onlookers were reportedly enraged sparking a riot at the Once station. Police dressed in riot gear got the crowd under control but not before broken glass and stones were thrown outside the station.
Four months ago, two commuter trains collided close to Buenos Aries injuring hundreds and killing at least three. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner spoke about this accident reminding the people of Argentina that the country puts “everything (into the train system), not just economic resources and investment, but also time and human resources.” She added, “When things like this happen, it hurts all of us.”
Written by: Amy Magness Whatley