The horrific train derailment in northwest Spain that killed at least 80 people was captured in chilling detail on security camera footage.
The video, which was circulating widely Thursday, shows the train careening off the tracks as it rounded a bend, and then crashing into a security wall. Investigators are looking at speed as a possible reason for the derailment.
Investigators told Spain's El Pais newspaper that the driver reported the train was traveling at nearly 120 miles per hour when it entered the bend on Wednesday. [Link in Spanish]. Officials quoted by the Associated Press said the speed limit on that stretch of track is about 50 miles per hour.
The Spanish Interior Ministry has ruled out terrorism, the Associated Press reported. An Al Qaeda-inspired bombing attack on the railway system in Madrid in 2004 killed nearly 200 people.
The train was en route from Madrid to the port town of Ferrol with 218 passengers on board when it derailed near Santiago de Compostela, in Spain’s Galicia region. The town was on the eve of celebrating a major religious festival that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. Officials canceled the event.
Spain’s Interior Ministry raised the death toll to 80 on Thursday. The figure could still rise: 95 people remained hospitalized, 36 of them in critical condition, according to news reports.
As the Los Angeles Times' London bureau chief, Henry Chu, reported, "Video footage showed carriages crumpled and lying on their side. Almost all those who perished were found dead on the scene, in an indication of the force of the derailment. A local official likened the scene to Dante’s 'Inferno.'"
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who visited the site Thursday, said a judicial investigation into the tragedy would be launched, as well as an investigation by the government’s public works department.
Rajoy thanked residents for turning out to help rescue workers and the injured, and for lining up by the hundreds to donate blood.
Spain will observe three days of mourning, he said.