A passenger train that had 13 train carriages and was carrying 218 passengers left the tracks and four carriages overturned on Wednesday in Spain.
The train derailed about 9pm local time as it was going along a curve in the tracks approaching the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela, reports The Telegraph.
Acording to local officials it’s not yet clear what became the cause of the terrible accident, but some passengers reported hearing an explosion before the train derailed.
However, Spain’s Interior Ministry quickly dismissed a terrorist attack as the cause of the one of Europe’s worst disaters.
El Pais newspaper cited sources close to the investigation who claimed that the train was travelling at over twice the speed limit on a sharp curve, Reuters writes.
“It was going so quickly it seems that on a curve the train started to twist and the wagons piled up one on top of the other,” Ricardo Montesco, a passenger on the train, told Cadena Ser radio.
“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning. … I was in the second wagon and there was fire. … I saw corpses,” he added.
Officials said earlier in the day that no statement would be made regarding the cause of the accident until the black boxes of the train were examined, but said it was most likely an accident.
“We are moving away from the hypothesis of sabotage or attack,” they said. “It’s too early to be 100 percent sure but speeding is a likely cause for the accident.”
The mayor of Santiago Angel Curras told Cadena Ser radio he had the same vision regarding the cause for the tragedy: “It seems the speed of the train was likely not the right one.”
Rescue workers recovered 73 bodies from the derailed vehicle, and four more victims where delivered to hospital, where they later died, a local official told reporters, adding that some carriages were yet to be searched.
Up to 131 people were injured, a Galicia-based spokeswoman for the office of the central government had previously told reporters.
“The scene is shocking, it’s Dante-esque,” said the head of the surrounding Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo.
The Santiago de Compostela train was operated by state rail company Renfe and derailed as the city was getting prepared for the festival of Saint James, which usually attracts thousands of Christian pilgrims from all over the world.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in the city where the tragedy took place, will visit the site on Thursday morning, his spokeswoman informed.
“In the face of a tragedy such as just happened in Santiago de Compostela on the eve of its big day, I can only express my deepest sympathy as a Spaniard and a Galician,” Rajoy said in a statement.