February 22nd, 2012
07:18 PM ET

50 killed, hundreds injured in Argentina train crash

Editor's noteLea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish

[Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET] A train packed with rush-hour commuters plowed head-on into a barrier at a Buenos Aires station Wednesday morning, killing 50 people and injuring hundreds more, officials in Argentina said.

The train failed to stop as it should have, and slammed into the barrier at Once station at Plaza Miserere shortly after 8:30 a.m. local time, rail service owner Buenos Aires Trains said.

Video of the crash aired by Argentina TV station C5N shows people waiting on a platform as the train's front section passes them and the camera. The train then comes to a violent halt, apparently because the front section hit the barrier farther down the track.

The crash caused the train's second section to be pushed 6 meters into the first section, Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi said, according to the Buenos Aires Herald. (See animated simulation of wreck from C5N)

Did you see the crash? Share your photos and videos with CNN and tell us what you're seeing.

Other video from the scene showed rescuers prying open windows of the twisted train to reach trapped passengers. Crews carried bleeding victims on stretchers through the busy station; some victims were taken to area hospitals by helicopter.

Argentina's president declared a two-day period of mourning.

"The government and people of Argentina give their solidarity and weigh the pain felt by the families of the victims," President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a statement declaring the mourning period. Memorials will be held outside Argentina's Government House and Olivos, the presidential residence, the state news agency Telam reported.

"Never in my life had I seen anything like this," Schiavi told reporters hours after the accident.

Shaken passengers told reporters the crash sounded like a bomb blast.

"Suddenly I heard a bang, and many people fell on top of me. I think I had more than 10 people above me. I got out as quickly as I could," a passenger named Esteban told state news agency Telam. "I only saw injured people and heard screams."

Another passenger, identified only as Fabian, said he "flew 15 (meters) forward due to the impact," the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

"I had people piled on top of me. None of us could move,” Fabian said, according to the Herald.

Another passenger told C5N that shortly before impact, when passengers noticed the train wasn't stopping, some started to shout to others that they should run to the back.

The first two cars of the train - crammed with commuters - were most affected by the crash.

Passengers emerged bruised, some with serious injuries, Schiavi said. More than 460 were hospitalized.

The crash injured more than 600 people, the state-run Telam news agency reported.

Family members flooded local hospitals, clamoring for information about missing loved ones.

Officials were investigating the crash, which was one of the nation's worst in decades.

They will use GPS data, security camera footage, audio recordings from the driver's cabin and maintenance records in their investigation, Schiavi said.

The train stopped at other stations on its route, and data shows that it slowed down as it approached the Once station, Schiavi said.

"It stopped 14 times, and the last time, it didn't stop," he said.

The packed train was traveling at 26 kilometers per hour (16 mph) when it entered the station, he said.

"We do not know what happened in the last 40 meters," he said.

The train's 28-year-old driver had just started his shift and had a good record, the transportation minister said.

Earlier Wednesday, Schiavi said authorities believed there were problems with the train's brakes that caused it to smash into a barrier at the station.

Buenos Aires Trains, which runs the rail service, said it was cooperating with the federal investigation.

"The company sends its condolences to the family members of the deceased passengers and remains very concerned about the health of all the injured people," the firm said in a statement.

Wednesday's crash was among the worst in Argentina's history, Telam reported.

In 1970, 200 people died when two trains crashed north of Buenos Aires.

Eight years later, 56 people were killed when a train hit a truck in Argentina's Santa Fe province, the state news agency reported.

Last September, a crash involving two passenger trains and a bus in Buenos Aires killed at least 11 people.

FULL STORY
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Diego Maradona

    Our president blamed her cancer on the US.

    We butchered our own people then threw them from airplanes into the atlantic ocean while they were still alive.

    95% of our population lives inpoverty

    America is our new enemy

    send deodorant and diapers

    February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Please! Get a hold of yourself.

      First, that was Chavez, not Mrs. Kirchner. Second, the government that "threw people from airplanes into the atlantic ocean while they were still alive" was the CIA supported dictatorship (the 1976-83 National Reorganization Process, to those unfamiliar with the subject). You won't find many countries in which the perpetrators of such atrocities (many far worse than the one you mentioned) have faced as much prosecution as in Argentina. Certainly not in the U.S., which has long been the favorite refuge of torturers, thugs, and kingpins from around the world (and particularly from '70s era right-wing Latin American regimes).

      Thirdly, 95% of the people YOU know may be in poverty; it's certainly not the case for most Argentines, and least of all in recent years. I don't like Mrs. Kirchner either, but you should not talk like somebody who hates his own country. That's what (some) Chileans are there for.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I wash my hands a hundred times a day b/c they smell like my mother

      February 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. d

    kinetic enrgy – the speed you hit the dash at 16 mph = 96 mph simple math 16×6 +96mph

    February 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      (chuckles) Okay.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bohemer

      Oh my...Dyslexia??

      February 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaintn

      I believe it. Years ago as a teenager I was not wearing a seat belt and was a passenger in a 1978 T-Bird (which was a tank back then) and my friend's foot slipped off the brake when we were sitting at a stop sign. We were literally coasting and t-boned a car coming through the intersection. At the time I weighed around 130 lbs. and my knee went through the glove compartment door, and my chin slammed the dash so hard it cracked it and put a gash in my upper chin just below my lower lip that actually went through and put another gash in my gums. One inch higher and it would have knocked my teeth out. Couldn't eat solid food for over a week and could barely talk. A lot of damage can be done at a low speed if you're not strapped in.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. popCorn

    The bible warned about 7 trumpets. if people worship devil.... There will be more wraths.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello?

      ummmmm, you are weird

      February 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • collin

      Do you know how long all of the wraths have been occuring? the end of the world wont / will not happen for a while.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • popCorn minder

      popCorn, that would be a sign for you to kill yourself, correct? Best you get around to that and leave the living to those of us who contribute to this world.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mondlicht

      You really ought to seek psychiatric help. I could make a couple calls, if you wish.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaintn

      You sound like my nutty Pentecostal friend. Nothing but doom and gloom for the heathens. Is that you Chris?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • NutGrinder

      LOL!

      February 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      which bible?

      February 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Malavaina

    Why is it that so many of the morons in the US end up posting comments that make our country looks so handicapped? Commuter trains have not seat belt. 3/4 of passengers travel standing and most of these trains are normally overcrawded (New York, London, Tokio, Toronto). And if we are so good how come did George Bush govern for 8 years?

    February 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • collin

      Bush and all repubs have kept our debt lower than what OBAMA has racked up in his first term... Check out details before speaking.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Medallon

      First I would say, do you live in Argentina? If so then you must have seen the commuter trains with doors open moving along the tracks (that is never closing). The subway cars on the A line from the 1900's that twist when going on a curve.
      The crumbling streets and sidewalks even in good neighborhoods like Palermo.
      They sorely need to improve the infrastructure of the country, and work against the endemic corruption.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1btwtheeyes

      Malavaina –
      Your grammar is a good example of your complaints – how embarrassing.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • LindleyF

      "Bush and all repubs have kept our debt lower than what OBAMA has racked up in his first term... Check out details before speaking."

      The economy was booming during most of Bush's time. Therefore, his massive spending didn't incur much of a debt. But with an economy that strong, he shouldn't have been incurring debt at all-he should have been paying it down, so that the money would be there to spend when it was needed (last few years). No foresight.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      bush's unpaid wars and 3 times handing out stimulus checks of failure tanked the economy. bush increased the national debt more than his father and just under reagan.... Reagan had something to show for it. bush has 40,000+ injured troops and tanking the dollar under the euro to show for it

      February 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Medallon

    This is what happens when a country does not invest in infrastructure for such a long time. The trains in Argentina are horrible, doors do not close, some trains are from the 1900's, stations, roads and sidewalks crumbling, all victims of the endemic corruption. Its a beautiful city, but god they need to get it together, its already way, way, way past due.
    Before any of you jump on me, I live here, Palermo

    February 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jsgoyburu

      Hello, fellow gorila!

      February 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      that is the USA... instead of keeping our infrastructure up to par we invade countries for no reason then nation build them instead... thanks bush.... all for oil

      February 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • lew

      Rich people don't want to pay taxes that even EQUAL what the middle class is paying per percentage, so who's going to pay for OUR infrastructure? I hate greedy capitalists that would rather be rich than pay for our bridges and roadways.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. collin

    They should have buckled up...

    February 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaintn

      My aren't you the witty one. Gee, how long did it take you to come up with that knee slapper?

      February 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kirk

    At least they didn't miss their stop.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Funny comment.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EB

    This must've been the "Malvinas Express."

    February 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jsgoyburu

      You're an idiot.

      Really.

      An idiot.

      Think about it.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eduardo D. Karjala Casas

    Argentina is a developed nation with a good infrastructure... used to be a world economic leader in the early 1900's and is made up of mostly Europeans (Italian, Spanish, French, German, English). Most of the native people died of diseases or were wiped out by the new inhabitants from Europe (especially under President Rosas in the late 1800's much like the US history on its native Americans). This accident, as I now see live via Canal 7 from BA), was a combination of technical and human error. Some are already saying that this could be a clandestine terrorist plan and attack by the English (MI-6). But I tend to believe it was an accident. Please provide Argentina and its people support. Ciao pibes!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcela

      I have a degree in Latin American History and I am from Uruguay. Argentina is far from reaching developed nation status. Yes, it was the richest country in 1900. You are also correct about having a majority of white immigrants from Southern Europe. But, you still have an Indigenous population that you decide to ignore, just go to the Northern Provinces.
      Stop believing Argentina is a first world nation, as many Uruguayans say about Uruguay. We are developing and I think the accident is no indication of developed or developing country, it was just bad luck. This is just my humble opinion.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I agree with Marcella on this. Eduardo is living in his own fantasy world (a world where Rosas was president in the late 1800's, and not Sarmiento and Mitre)

      February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eduardo D. Karjala Casas

      @Marcela – – Los indígenas son de Bolivia, Chile y Paraguay ... muy pocos de Argentina. Haga su tarea porque la verdad es que los americanos siguen pintando una imagen pobre y de poca educación. Yo he viajado a todas partes del mundo como consultor a varias corporaciones. Argentina tiene grandes recursos y los mas valiosos son sus gentes.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    Does anyone know if that station was the terminus? I take the train every day in Chicago, and I don't understand how it could hit the platform unless it derailed first or it was the end of the line.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      It was the end of the line.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. anon

    If they have superman they would have been saved.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JOE SMOCKEROODI

    Man! Dem dere peoples got balooooooowwwwwwe3eeedddd up!!!!!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chubbs

    Probably an Asian driving

    February 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    This really saddens me. i used to live in Buenos Aires, great city and great people. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cruising to Beunos Aries

    Wull be in Beunos Aries in 12 hrs, I won't be taking the train anywhere.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
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