More than 50 people were killed and dozens injured when a high-speed train derailed late Wednesday near the city of Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain, authorities said.
The train carrying more than 200 passengers was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol in the Galicia region. All 13 cars derailed on a curve about 3 kilometres from the Santiago de Compostela station, dpa reported.
The president of the High Court of Galicia, Miguel Angel Cadenas, said that a provisional toll put the number of dead at 56. Rescue services said around 120 people were injured in the crash, according to local media.
The rear engine of the train caught fire while one of the wagons was hurled 5 metres up a hillside. Wagons that were ripped open or crashed on top of each other were scattered on the rails.
Rescuers struggled to pull victims out of wagon windows. Pictures from the scene showed bodies covered with blankets lying on the rails.
Many passengers on the train were pilgrims bound for events dedicated to the patron saint of Santiago de Compostela, the city's most important festival. The city cancelled the festival after news of the crash emerged.
The accident was the first affecting Spain's high-speed AVE network.
The Interior Ministry excluded an attack as the cause of the accident.