Speed may have caused deadly train wreck in Spain

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain (AP) — Excessive speed may have been the cause of yesterday’s train derailment in Spain that left 80 people dead.

A passenger tells a radio station that the train “traveled very fast” just before it derailed, and the cars flipped upside down, on their sides and into the air. A witness says he saw the train “coming out of the bend at great speed.”

And an analysis of video of the crash indicates that the train may have been traveling at twice the speed limit for that stretch of track. Officials say the speed limit there is 50 miles an hour. But an estimate of the train’s speed at the moment of impact — using the frame rate of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons — is well above the limit.

The video shows the train carriages starting to buckle soon into the turn, with the first and second passenger cars leaving the tracks first. The engine itself quickly follows, violently tipping to its right side as it crashes into a concrete wall and bulldozes its way along the ground.

Officials say 95 people are still hospitalized, including 36 in critical condition.

%@AP Links

173-c-08-(Niko Price, AP correspondent)-”that it crashed”-AP correspondent Niko Price reports that the Spanish train derailment analysis focused on the frame rate of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons. (25 Jul 2013)

<<CUT *173 (07/25/13)££ 00:08 “that it crashed”

174-c-15-(Niko Price, AP correspondent)-”that it crashed”-AP correspondent Niko Price reports that an analysis of video images shows that the Spanish train was traveling well above the speed limit when it derailed, killing at least 80 people. (25 Jul 2013)

<<CUT *174 (07/25/13)££ 00:15 “that it crashed”

132-c-15-(Alan Clendenning, AP correspondent)-”crash looking on”-AP correspondent Alan Clendenning reports loved ones are in the area. (25 Jul 2013)

<<CUT *132 (07/25/13)££ 00:15 “crash looking on”

GRAPHICSBANK: Spain political relief map, highlighted, Madrid and Santiago de Compostela locator, partial graphic (25 Jul 2013)

APPHOTO EM121: This aerial image taken from video shows a general view of the site of a train accident in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Thursday July 25, 2013. The death toll in a passenger train crash in northwestern Spain rose to 77 on Thursday after the train jumped the tracks on a curvy stretch just before arriving in the northwestern shrine city of Santiago de Compostela, a judicial official said. (AP Photo) (25 Jul 2013)

<<APPHOTO EM121 (07/25/13)££

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