Spanish Train Crash: 35 Deaths Reported in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia

July 24, 2013 Updated: July 25, 2013

A train in Spain derailed on Wednesday, according to preliminary reports. Nearly three dozen were killed.

The train derailed near Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, said the Spanish website  

Officials gave different death tolls in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Alberto Nunez Feijoo, president of the region of Galicia, said at least 35 people aboard the train were killed.

Spain’s leading Cadena SER radio station cited the president of the Galicia’s main court, Miguel Angel Cadenas, at the scene saying 56 people were killed, but that could not be independently confirmed. The station said three carriages had still to be inspected by rescue workers.

The Spanish Confederation of Police said on its Twitter that 35 people are officially dead. It also said that blood donations are desperately needed at the Hospital at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Police said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel to Santiago de Compostela on Thursday morning. It also said the local Galician Parliament has issued a statement to extend their sympathy and condolences to the victims.

The train had 218 passengers on board, said police. Officials have said that dozens of wounded have been rescued.

Reports said that at least 100 people were injured. Throngs of police and emergency services workers were on the scene.

“It was going so quickly … It seems that on a curve the train started to twist, and the wagons piled up one on top of the other,” passenger Ricardo Montesco was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning … I was in the second wagon and there was fire … I saw corpses,” he continued. 

The train was heading from Madrid and Ferrol, according to the Europa Press. At least four carriages had overturned, officials said.

State-owned train operator Renfe said in a statement that 218 passengers and an unspecified number of staff were on board at the time of the accident. Renfe, which did not give a death or injury toll, said the derailment happened at 8.41 p.m. (1841 GMT) along a high-speed section that had been inaugurated just two years ago.

Officials say it is unclear what caused the accident.

Deia reported that as many as 13 people were trapped inside the train wreckage.

Galicia is located in northern Spain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.