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.

soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Capitan

    HA! What a buffoon. Damn! Fed another troll...

    February 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cnnshouldcheckusgs

    16mph my butt!

    February 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Do me a favor and stand in front of a train (or even a car for that matter) going 16 mph. Then maybe you'll understand what kind of force something like a train has at even just 16 mph.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newton Says...

      Its very simple...Newton's Second Law:
      Now, just for kicks, lets use the following weights:
      Amtrak P42 is around 289 000 Lbs (full)
      The average American is about 210 pounds fully loaded (assuming 700 on the train, thats 147 000 lbs)

      Using Newton's Second Law we come up with:
      F= (289000 + 147000 lbs)x(16mph) or a Force of 6.978 E^6 Newtons. That's a lot of force. 😉

      February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • RusTnuts

      I'm guessing you've never driven a train. The can do a lot of damage when people get in front of them, not because of their speed (although that contributes) but because they are heavy and don't stop on a dime(or a football lenght field either). Their momentum keeps them moving regardless of what is in front of them:pedestrians, baby strollers, cars, etc!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry says...

      16mph is speed, not acceleration. so that's actually the momentum.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Qwyk says...

      Damn Barry beat me to it.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      British Commandos? Get your hands off my Faulkland Islands.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Educated people have spoken in response, good job people.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. goodegyptian

    Four words. Seat belts save lives.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      TRUE, the problem it's that in most countries (including Argentina) most people travels standing up, like in city buses when they are no more seat available. It's a commuting train, not the AMTRAK...

      February 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard


      February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      @melvinslizard...but that still doesn't negate the fact that, seat belts, save lives. Seat belts exist as a second level of safety in the the event primary safety systems, fail. It's quite a simple concept.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |

    Probably God is getting even with them after the boxing match in Buenos Aires, They almost killed a Filipino boxer and the manager.

    The Argentinian rioted because their boxer lost the fight with a Filipino boxer.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      are you 12? such a stupid comment, considering the tragedy that just occurred. And by the way, most argentinians don't even knew this "boxer" you are talking about, since he is a nobody. The "argentinians" you are mentioning where no more than 100 people, Argentina population = over 40 millon. And getting God in the middle, seriously? what a MORON

      February 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Marc

      He was born?

      February 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AKILEZ

      12 or not I don't care about the Argentinian people. DID YOU WATCH THEIR SOCCER GAMES!!!

      Please you guys are more hyprocrite than me. Sounded like Angels on your comment does not prove your nice people

      February 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      AKILEZ, you are just acting like a complete ignorant, the same way we have good and bad people in America, they do in other countries, but saying that an entire country is bad, I wonder where are you from... bet it's somewhere in Latin America, there's no other explanation for your hate toward argentinians. This was a tragedy! not a soccer game, most of us get sad when we see inocent people die for no reason.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • AKILEZ

      I am Greek!!!! does the name speaks for itself. please beating up a foreign delegates after a sports is unacceptable in foreign diplomacy. Argentina failed to respect a sports and the people from other countries just like what they did with the British in the Falkland islands. They cannot even respect a land own by United Kingdom and do you think they respect foreign diplomat and STEPPING ON THE PHILIPPINE FLAG IS UNACCEPTABLE.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Well, figures.

      @AKILEZ...that's still no excuse for making such a callous statement. If you truly feel that God would act in such a way, you're just horrible person that is no better than Hitler, sans the leadership ability. I sense, you likely don't feel that way and are just being a jerk so I give you the benefit of the doubt because it's quite easy to speak so heavily on the internet. And obviously, your handle can be anything so it's not necessarily evident that you are Greek. Take care and no offense intended. We all have our issues, I mean, look at what's even going on in Greece.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • AKILEZ

      God destroyed the world once and don't you think that was violent too? to destoy the people he created by drowning all of them and built an Arch to save some people and animals.

      February 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |

    Thomas the Train got his revenge!

    February 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Henriette

    Undoubtedly a computer malfunction. Welcome to the future Argentina!

    February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |

      So its a Matrix thing then?! How about people start taking responsibility for their actions rather than trying to blame the toaster oven for once!

      February 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Coflyboy

    The right will surely find a way to blame the Obama administration.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. guest

    Though this is so far the worst, it's not the first serious incident with fatalities in this commuter line. The Sarmiento line, known as Argentina's most dangerous, was privatized in 1995 and sold to the Cirigliano family (owners of a $650 million-a-year insurance and commuter transport conglomerate). The group's rail operator, TBA, receives over $30 million a year in subsidies (more than it cost the government to run the TBA lines before privatizations). Crony capitalism.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KnowsMore

    This is why I never travel anywhere. you never know what could happen. just stay home IMO

    February 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      lol so you just stay home all day? what a waste

      February 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicki

      Homes are dangerous. You could slip in the bathtub and hit your head or the house could catch and fire and you could burn to death. That is why I always leave my house every morning. They are death traps.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      What do your friends think about that?
      Okay, that was cruel, sorry.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. yoyo martnez

    Anything new in the news? Argentina has more train-related casualties and fatalities than any other country in the world, maybe India or Pakistan.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eduardo D. Karjala Casas

      Perhaps that is because they have a very large network. The largest in the western hemisphere and most used of any western country.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JB

    Perform root cause analysis to see that the train machinery was inspected before it was ready to depart. How can brake just fails while in travelling.
    It is weird.
    God bless to people who were saved and rest in peace those souls who left.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. robert

    Sad news. RIP......and as usual a communist « socialist» government killing its own people.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • WingNutsAreU

      @robert: A train losing its brakes is a conspiracy? Watch yourself; there's a squadron of black helicopters following you everywhere you go.

      February 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • robert

      Why do you think I wear a foil hat.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Oh? You should know that this commuter line (the Sarmiento, known as Argentina's most dangerous), was privatized in 1995 and sold to the Cirigliano family (owners of a $650 million-a-year insurance and commuter transport conglomerate). The group's rail operator, TBA, receives over $30 million a year in subsidies (more than it cost the government to run the TBA lines before privatizations). The concession over another major line, the San Martin, was revoked in 2004 following a similar tragedy and a string of other incidents. This would certainly warrant another such action.

      In this case, then, it's crony capitalism. You know: much like the one than cleaned the U.S. financial system out of $23 TRILLION, leaving the taxpayers with the consequences, not to mention the bill itself.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vancouver

    Sad to hear it.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    A horrible thing to have happened. Tragic loss of life. My sympathies & prayers for the injured and families of those who died.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dr

    it doesn't make sense that the other section would be pushed 6 meters into the first if the train is going only 16 mph unless the train was made from some really cheap material.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
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