Argentine train slams into station, killing 49

February 23, 2012 • World News

Wounded passengers wait to be carried away from a commuter train after a collision in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. A packed train slammed into the end of the line in Buenos Aires’ busy Once station Wednesday, killing dozens and injuring hundreds of morning commuters as passenger cars crumpled behind the engine. (AP Photo/Anibal Greco) NO PUBLICAR EN ARGENTINA

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The first two cars were packed as usual for the morning rush, so tightly that people stood pressed flesh to flesh, sandwiched between bicycles and the few seats, many without so much as a strap to hold onto.

This train didn’t lurch, though. It had trouble stopping at all, overshooting platform after platform and missing at least one station entirely as it rushed toward the end of the line.

The train didn’t come to a halt until it had slammed into a metal barrier at Buenos Aires’ Once station. With eight cars carrying a mass of steel and humanity — more than 1,200 people on board — the momentum was devastating. Forty-nine people were killed and 600 were injured.

Windows exploded and the first cars were crushed into a jumble of glass, metal, plastic and bodies.

The cause wasn’t immediately determined, but many pointed to a deteriorating rail system and train cars that lack modern equipment and safety measures. Passengers said the conductor had appeared to be struggling with the brakes before the crash.

The dead included 48 adults and one child — most of whom had crowded into the first two cars to get ahead of the rush-hour crowds on arrival. The injured included 461 who were hospitalized, Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi said.

Passengers’ friends and relatives were still rushing around the city hours later, checking emergency rooms and the city’s two largest morgues for some sign of their loved ones.

Ezequiel Mercado, his mother-in-law and 10 other friends and family members frantically searched for his Login to read more

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