A high-speed train travelling from Madrid to the Galicia region of northwest Spain derailed late Wednesday night killing at least 78 people and injuring around 120 more.
Reports state that there were 218 people on board and four crew.
Emergency services rushed to the scene with fire fighters climbing over twisted metal trying to rescue survivors through windows. All thirteen carriages had jumped the rails, some of them ending up one on top of the other.
Spanish news agency Efe reported that the driver of the train had admitted to speeding when he hit the bend in the tracks, citing sources close to the investigation. A spokesperson from Galicia’s Supreme Court told Reuters that the train driver was now under investigation in connection with the incident.
A video posted on YouTube shows the moment of the crash:
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Santiago de Compostela, arrived at the
scene of the accident and was also due to visit victims in hospital later on
Renfe, the company which operates the train, has confirmed that the incident is the most serious train crash to happen in Spain in over 40 years. Furthermore, it is the first time a high-speed train has derailed in the country.
Concerts and firework displays, which had been planned as part of the festivities in Santiago de Compostela, have now been canceled.
In 1972, a train derailment in Andalusia in the south left 77 people dead.