Train kills 12 taking short cut to solstice beach party
Published 25/06/2010 | 05:00
A high-speed train killed 12 people crossing the tracks to go to a summer solstice beach party in Spain.
Fourteen others were injured, at least three seriously, in the accident shortly before midnight on Wednesday at Castelldefels station, about 22km outside Barcelona, in Catalonia.
Some of the group, believed to be Latin American immigrants, had just got off a train at the crowded station.
They were taking a shortcut across the track when they were struck.
A witness said a train came from the other direction and ran everyone over.
"The impact was brutal," he said. "The sound was like that of rocks being crushed but it was humans."
Rescue workers said body parts were scattered along the tracks.
Several of those injured had been standing on the platform.
They were hurt by flying bodies flung aside by the train as it sped along a straight, flat stretch of track.
All of the dead and injured, except one woman in her 40s, were younger than 29.
Two were teenagers, said Nacho Solano, a spokesman for the Catalonia regional government's civil protection department.
The victims were on their way to celebrate the Noche de San Juan held on the shortest night of the year.
The Spanish festival is celebrated with particular fervour in Catalonia where youngsters gather on beaches to party into the night. One survivor, named only as Charlie, described how he was among those about to cross the tracks when the intercity passenger train bore down on them.
"We got off the local train and because the underpass was closed almost all the passengers decided to cross the tracks," he said.
"But the train which was coming whistled too late, when it was almost on top of us." The local mayor, Joan Sau, insisted that the underpass was open and that the accident was caused by the "imprudence" of the victims. Teofilo Serrano, the chairman of Renfe, the national train network, said: "Now is the moment to help the families. (© Daily Telegraph, London)