Argentine Train Crash (02-22-12)


Let It All Bleed Out
Argentine train slams into busy station
during morning commute, killing 49 and injuring 100s

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A train packed with morning commuters slammed into a downtown station on Wednesday, killing 49 people and injuring hundreds as passenger cars crumpled and windows exploded around them. It was Argentina's worst train accident in decades.

The cause wasn't immediately determined, but many pointed to a deteriorating rail system. Some passengers reported signs the conductor was struggling with the brakes before the crash, saying he kept overshooting platforms and missed one entirely.

The dead include 48 adults and one child — most of whom had crowded into the first two cars to get ahead of the rush-hour crowds on arrival. Some 600 people were injured, including 461 who were hospitalized, Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi said.

"It was an accident like those in many other countries," Schiavi told a news conference, pointing to a newspaper clipping about a fatal crash in Los Angeles. "In recent years, we've made huge investments" in the system, he asserted.

As Schiavi spoke Wednesday afternoon, riot police faced off against angry passengers in the closed Once station, where emergency workers spent hours extracting dozens of people trapped inside the first car. Rescuers had to carve open the roof and set up a pulley system to ease them out one by one.

The 28-year-old conductor, who survived the crash, was apparently well-rested, Schiavi said, having just begun his workday.

"Tiredness, his (young) age, the problems that a conductor might face" are among the factors being investigated, he said. "This young person had just begun his shift moments before the accident."

The motorman was hospitalized in intensive care and hasn't given a statement, Schiavi said.

Passengers said the conductor seemed to struggle with the brakes, missing his stopping marks at station after station, though a labour union official said the train appeared to be in good working order.

"This machine left the shop yesterday and the brakes worked well. From what we know, it braked without problems at previous stations. At this point I don't want to speculate about the causes," union chief Ruben Sobrero told Radio La Red.

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These are great days we're living, bros
damn, it wont look good when they discover the brakes are fucked, sure as hell sounds like it... I wonder why the conductor kept driving the fucking thing if he was already having problems. Useless union.