SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain A Spanish train that hurtled off the rails and smashed into a security wall as it rounded a bend was going so fast that carriages tumbled off the tracks like dominoes, killing 80 people and maiming dozens more, according to eyewitness accounts and video footage obtained Thursday.
"I saw the train coming out of the bend at great speed and then there was a big noise,'' one eyewitness who lives beside the train line, Consuelo Domingues, told The Associated Press. ". Then everybody tried to get out of the train.''
Scroll down to watch security footage that shows deadly train derailment.
Eyewitnesses, security footage suggest high speed
In the morning, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Santiago de Compostela, toured the crash scene alongside rescue workers and went to a nearby hospital to visit those wounded and their families. In the evening Spain head of state, King Carlos, and Queen Sofia went to the same hospital, dressed in funeral black.
a native of Santiago, like me, this is the saddest day, said Rajoy, who declared Spain would observe a three day period of mourning.
Security footage shows the moment the train derailed in Spain. WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised.
Death toll rises
Interior Ministry rules out terrorism
Santiago officials had been preparing for the city's internationally celebrated Catholic festival Thursday but cancelled it and took control of the city's main indoor sports arena to use as a makeshift morgue. There, relatives of the dead could be seen sobbing and embracing each other.
The Interior Ministry, responsible for law and order, ruled out terrorism as a cause.
government said two probes have been launched into the train derailment Wednesday night on its approach to this Christian festival city in northwest Spain, where planned celebrations in honour of one of Jesus disciples gave way to a living nightmare.
Spain's lead investigator in the crash, Judge Vazquez TaDin, ordered detectives to question the train driver.
Murray Hughes, consultant editor of Railway Gazette International, said it appeared that a diesel powered unit behind the lead locomotive was the first to derail. The front engine itself quickly followed, violently tipping on to its right side as it crashed into a concrete security Nike V Neck wall and bulldozed along the ground.
Eyewitness accounts backed by security camera footage of the moment of disaster suggested that the eight carriage train was going too fast as it tried to turn left underneath a road bridge. The train company Renfe said 218 passengers and five crew members were on board. Spanish officials said the speed limit on that section of track is 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour.
An Associated Press estimate of the train speed at the moment of impact using the time Nike Leggings Black And White
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An Associated Press analysis of video images suggests the train may have been travelling at twice the speed limit, or more, along that curved stretch of track. The unanswered question is: Why?
In the background, all the rear carriages could be seen starting to decouple and come off the tracks. The picture went blank as the engine appeared to crash directly into the camera.
The regional government in Galicia confirmed that police planned to question the 52 year old train driver, in Santiago Nike Sweater For Men Black
Renfe's president, Julio Gomez Pomar Rodriguez, president of Renfe, told Spain's Cadena Cope radio network that the driver had worked on that route for more than one year.
the American people grieve with our Spanish friends, who are in our thoughts and prayers, President Barack Obama said in a statement.
The Interior Ministry raised the death toll to 80 in what was Spain deadliest train wreck in four decades. The Galician government said 94 others remained hospitalized in six regional hospitals, 31 of them including four children in critical condition. State Department said one American was killed in the crash and five others were injured. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said those numbers were to change and declined to elaborate.
31 critical after Spain train crash blamed on high speed
After impact, witnesses said a fire engulfed passengers trapped in at least one carriage, most likely driven by ruptured tanks of diesel fuel carried in the forward engines.
stamp of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons gives a range of 144 192 kph (89 119 mph). Another estimate calculated on the basis of the typical distance between railroad ties gives a range of 156 182 kph (96 112 mph).
de Compostela main hospital with unspecified injuries, as both a witness and as a possible suspect, but cautioned that possible faults in safety equipment were also being investigated.
Renfe identified the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, as a 30 year employee of the state rail company who became an assistant driver in 2000 and a fully qualified driver in 2003. The company said Amo took control of the train from a second driver about 100 kilometres (65 miles) south of Santiago de Compostela.
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