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At least 60 killed as train derails in north-western Spain

At least 60 killed as train derails in north-western Spain

PanARMENIAN.Net - A train has derailed in north-western Spain, killing at least 60 people and injuring more than 100, officials in the Galicia region have said, according to BBC News.

All eight carriages of the train, which was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol, came off the tracks near the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Rescue workers continued to search for survivors in the train wreckage through the night. Analysts say it is the worst rail accident in Spain in four decades.

Government officials said they believed the crash was an accident, but that no statement would be made regarding the cause without a proper investigation. "We are moving away from the hypothesis of sabotage or attack," one unnamed official said.

Images from the site showed bodies covered with blankets next to the tracks, as emergency crews searched the wreckage.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, convened an emergency ministerial meeting late on Wednesday. He is due to visit the scene of the accident on Thursday, July 25.

"I want to express my affection and solidarity with the victims of the terrible train accident in Santiago," Rajoy said on his Twitter account.

More than 140 passengers were receiving treatment for a range of light to more serious injuries, a health official told reporters on Thursday morning.

In the wake of the incident, residents flocked to hospitals in the area to donate blood in response to an appeal.

Meanwhile, 320 Spanish police officers were deployed to help out the rescue operation.

Spanish El Pais newspaper cited sources close to the investigation as saying the train was travelling at over twice the speed limit on a sharp curve.

The derailment happened on the eve of Santiago de Compostela's main festival where thousands of Christian pilgrims were expected to flock to the city in honor of Saint James.

However, the city's tourism board said all festivities planned for Thursday have been cancelled. Railway firm Renfe said the train was carrying at least 218 passengers, and came off the tracks on a bend about 3km (two miles) from Santiago de Compostela station.

It was on the express route between Madrid and the ship-building city of Ferrol on the Galician coast.

The company says it and the track operating company Adif are collaborating with a judge appointed to investigate the accident.

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