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11 Killed As Train Rams Into Bus And Another Train In Argentina

Buenos Aires, Sept 14: A Buenos Aires bus driver gambled and tried to rush across railroad tracks on Tuesday, setting off a chain-reaction collision with two trains that killed 11 people and injured hundreds.The shocking

PTI PTI Updated on: September 14, 2011 17:43 IST
11 killed as train rams into bus and another train in
11 killed as train rams into bus and another train in argentina

Buenos Aires, Sept 14: A Buenos Aires bus driver gambled and tried to rush across railroad tracks on Tuesday, setting off a chain-reaction collision with two trains that killed 11 people and injured hundreds.


The shocking accident, captured on video, saw the bus drive halfway across the first track before an oncoming passenger train crushed it against a concrete station platform.

The collision forced the train's first two cars off the rails and into another locomotive that was leaving the station in the other direction.

The bus driver was among those killed, and 212 were injured, including about 20 people in critical condition, said Alberto Crescenti, director-general of Argentina's emergency medical system.

Nine people died at the scene, police said, and two others in hospitals, according to the city's health ministry.

Emergency officials were still trying to extricate bodies from under the wreckage hours after the crash.

Costanza, a middle age woman who was a passenger on the bus described the chaos in the aftermath of the crash.

"I did see people and blood everywhere, people lying on the floor and also people stepping over you desperate to get off," she told reporters.

The collision happened at 6:15 a.m. (9:15 GMT) during the busy morning rush hour in the capital's densely populated Flores neighbourhood, when many parents use public transportation to take their children to school.

Children were among the injured, according to Argentine Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi.

There are hundreds of street-level train crossings in the Argentine capital, and their danger increases at rush hour, particularly next to stations, where trains can arrive every four minutes - so frequently that the crossing barriers remain down most of the time.

440 people and 165 vehicles were hit by trains last year, causing a total of 269 deaths.

While a train is pausing for passengers at a station, there is no way for a driver or pedestrian to know whether the adjacent barrier is blocking street traffic because of that train, or because another train is rushing in from the opposition direction.

Buildings line the tracks, making it impossible to see what's coming.

The busy Sarmiento line where Tuesday's accident occurred connects the suburb of Moreno to the capital's centre, and has more street-level crossings than any other in Buenos Aires.

A video taken from the street and broadcast in Argentina, however, showed the red and white-painted arm at a 45-degree angle, narrowly enabling the bus to pass underneath.

It's not clear from the video why the arm didn't lower all the way down, although people sometimes manually raise barriers so that vehicles can get through.

There were initial suggestions that the bus driver might have been in a hurry to avoid possible traffic congestion during rush hour but witnesses told the Argentinean television networks otherwise.

"When I went out, it was alone on the block (the bus), there weren't more cars, there was no traffic congestion, he was alone, he had no reason (to cross the railway crossing), it was an imprudence,"said Ines, one of the first people to arrive to the site. AP

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