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Argentina train crash leaves 49 dead, 600 injured

 
 
 
 
 
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February 22, 2012 picture shows the commuter train that crashed into in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires’ Once train station at the rush hour after its brakes failed.

At least 49 people have been killed and over 600 others injured after a packed train slammed into the end of the line in the capital Buenos Aires’ busy Once station, officials said.

Federal Police Commissioner Nestor Rodriguez said that the dead from the Wednesday crash — Argentina’s worst in more than 30 years — included 48 adults and one child.

Emergency workers were pulling out scores of people, who were trapped inside the first car, Buenos Aires’ emergency medical director said.

“There are people still trapped, people alive, and there may have been fatalities. We don’t know if there are dead people” Argentina’s Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi said.

Schiavi said the train entered the station too fast and hit a shock-absorbing barricade at the end of the platform at about 26 kilometers per hour speed, smashing the front of the engine and crunching the leading cars behind it.

He added the accident, which took place shortly after 8:30 am local time may have been caused by brake failure.

Trains in Buenos Aires are usually packed with people standing between the seats. Passengers said windows exploded as the tops of train cars separated from their floors, and many were thrown to the floor by the force of the hard stop.

According to local media, the worst accidents in the Argentinean history include a 1970 crash that killed some 230 people and another in 1978, in which about 55 people perished.

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