A train derailed outside the ancient northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday night, on the eve of a major religious festival, killing at least 78 people and injuring up to 131 in one of Europe’s worst rail disasters.
In what one local official described as a scene from hell, bodies covered in blankets lay next to the overturned carriages as smoke billowed from the wreckage after the disaster.
Firefighters clambered desperately over the twisted metal trying to get survivors out of the windows, while ambulances and fire engines surrounded the scene. Cranes were still pulling out mangled debris on Thursday morning, 12 hours after the crash.
One official source said speeding was a likely cause of the derailment, which occurred as the train reached a curve in the track, but the public works minister said it was too early to draw conclusions on what had happened.