6 killed as train derails in Spain
By CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A long-distance passenger train has derailed in northern Spain, killing at least six people and injuring 38 others, officials told CNN.
Five people died at the scene of the derailment and a sixth person died in a hospital, said the officials, from the central government's main local office in Palencia and from the regional Castilla-Leon government headquarters in Valladolid.
The six-car train carrying 466 passengers from Spain's northwest cities of La Coruna and Vigo to Bilbao and the French border city of Hendaye derailed in Villada, just before 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), said a spokeswoman for Spain's state-run railway, Renfe.
All six cars derailed, said Miguel Alejo, the central government's chief official in the Castilla-Leon region. Pictures from the scene indicated that at least one car appeared to have remained upright.
A passenger on the train, Ruben Paniagua, told a local TV reporter that many of the people aboard appeared to have been pilgrims to the shrine at Santiago de Compostela, one of the holiest sites of the Roman Catholic Church, in a city where the train took on passengers early in its trip.
Paniagua said he got off the train at the town of Sahagun, about 10 km (6 miles) from Villada, and then drove to his job in Villada, where he stared in disbelief at the crippled train he had just been riding, and then helped out in the rescue efforts. He said one person who had been sitting near him early in the journey appeared to have died.
There was no immediate word on the nationalities of the dead and injured.
Four medical helicopters, numerous ambulances and several crews of firefighters were at the scene, the Renfe spokesman said.
Pictures from the scene showed the accident appeared to involve just one train on a clear day, which was confirmed by government spokesmen.
The derailment occurred near the industrial park on the outskirts of Villada, a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Palencia city.
Palencia province is roughly halfway between Madrid and the French border.
The train started its journey from two northwestern Spanish cities, La Coruna and Vigo, with two trains taking on passengers in those towns and then traveling eastward until they joined into a single train, which is the one that derailed near Villada.
It was heading for the northern Basque city of Bilbao and the French border, the Renfe spokesman said.
Spain's Minister of Development, along with the chairman of the state railway Renfe, were on their way to the scene, the government spokesman said.
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