Today, Argentina faced its worst train crash since February, 1970 with fatalities in the dozens and casualties in the hundreds.
At least 600 people have been injured, including the driver who was found trapped under steel beneath the wreckage. Although he survived, he is not yet stable enough to answer questions in regard to the cause of the accident. Medics at the scene have been completely overwhelmed with casualties that have led to loss of limbs and collapsed airways, including both the elderly and young children.
The train itself hit the platform at the rail station during one of its busiest times of day, in one of the busiest parts of the rail system at an estimated 12 mph, although some speculation has been reported that it may have been going as fast as 18mph. The train was packed full of people, who subsequently broke out windows amidst a destroyed engine to escape. Most were injured from the broken metal and glass as people escaped any way they were able to. BBC’s Vladimir Hernandez has expressed concern that the severity of the injuries could lead to more fatalities. Many have been transported to local hospitals and are now listed in critical condition.
The transportation secretary JP Schiavi told reporters “We assume that there is some fault in the brakes” although no official information has been made available. Roughly 3 hours after the crash, survivors could still be heard screaming as emergency staff struggled to free them from the broken and twisted metal.
Union Chief Ruben Sobrero told reporters that when the train left the shop yesterday the brakes worked well. Others have speculated the train may have been going too fast as it entered the station. It is the 3rd train crash in Buenos Aires over the last six months and some even say survivors are lucky. The train crash of 1970 killed an estimated 230 people. More will be known in the days to come.