Friday, June 14th 2013 - 03:29 UTC

Argentina train crash kills 3, injures 315 and sparks controversy over the rail system

At least three people were killed and 315 others injured when two trains collided Thursday morning outside Argentina's capital, officials said. The causes of the accident are yet to be determined and have already triggered controversy giving the poor conditions of the Argentine railway system.

Minister Randazzo trying to determine if it was an accident or intentional

Rescuers desperately try to save people from the wrecked early morning double deck train

The accident occurred in Castelar, located 30 kilometres west of Buenos Aires, at 7:07 a.m. when a train headed for the city of Moron on the Sarmiento line hit an empty train that was stopped on the tracks.

Argentine Interior and Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo said that the authorities must “determine whether the train crash was an accident or it was intentional,” and urged the media to provide the public with “objective information”.
“The train was always speeding up, even when it was supposed to be cautious or stop,” he warned.

Rejecting claims by rail workers’ union that the train was not fit for service, Randazzo assured that the brakes system of the train responsible for the death of three people and hundreds of injured this morning “was brand new” and urged the population not to jump to conclusions “before the contents of the train’s black box are analyzed.”

Service will be suspended on the Sarmiento line for 24 hours so investigators can determine if Thursday's crash “could have been avoided” Randazzo told a press conference.

The Sarmiento line was also the scene of a February 2011 accident that left 51 people dead and more than 600 injured.

On the other hand, opposition leaders Hermes Binner and Patricia Bullrich demanded the resignation of Randazzo, as result of the accident.

“It represents the absence of a state that denies to fulfil its obligations”, Binner stated.

In addition, Bullrich also blamed Alejandro Ramos, the Secretary of Transportation, and accused him of being responsible for today’s tragedy. “Alejandro Ramos and Minister Randazzo have to present themselves in Congress immediately, and bring explanations”, said Bullrich.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner expressed her “solidarity and condolences” for the three families who lost their relatives in the Castelar train accident, and said that she feels “sadness and impotence.”

“I don’t want to put a name to this so a court can determine what happened,” she said during a ceremony at the Government House, where she said that despite the Government’s investments in the railway system “we have things like these happen.”

Meanwhile a federal judge ordered the arrest on murder charges, of the engine driver and of his co-driver manipulating the collided train. Per request of district attorney Sebastián Basso, Federal Judge of Morón Jorge Rodríguez decided their detention. Both the driver and the co-driver of the Sarmiento express had been isolated since the accident took place at 7.07 am this morning.

14 comments Feed

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1 RICO (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 06:15 am Report abuse
How very sad for the families that lost their loved ones. If only Argentina had a friend they could turn to who could advise them on how to run a safe railway.
2 Redrow (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 10:28 am Report abuse
This is a terrible tragedy for all involved. I do hope though that the driver and guard had modern warning systems available to them and aren't just to be thrown to the wolves to cover up for failures elsewhere.
3 yankeeboy (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 10:54 am Report abuse
I wouldn't get on a train or plane run by La Campora. What is below 3rd world? Frontier? Do they even qualify as that any longer?
4 Islander1 (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 12:40 pm Report abuse
Sad and Trajioc for all those involved who suffered and are sufferring - as for the mad lunatic ladt feeling “impotent” - how about she invests in raising railway saftey standards - which ARE of value to her people - and less money on silly foreign trips for people chasing the lost cause of the islands she wants to Colonise.
5 Conqueror (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 12:51 pm Report abuse
The last railway “incident” didn't faze CFK. It should have warned her to have every item of argie railway equipment checked and double-checked. Also the standards of the operators and their personnel. But what does she care? Still making/stealing money, isn't she? What does she care for a few argentine peasants? Anybody reckon her “personal wealth” will be US$20 million next year? Notice that it isn't in argie pesos. Here's a thought for Argentines, not scumbag argies, she is, after all, a cheating, lying, thieving scumbag. Why not try to account for every peso? If she's been honest, she has nothing to fear. Go for it. Bet she refuses. Don't forget penalties. NO-ONE is above the law. Well, not in a proper democratic, law-abiding country.
6 Yuleno (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 01:25 pm Report abuse
You won't leave your bedroom and that is injuring and kill you yankeeboy
7 yankeeboy (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 01:47 pm Report abuse
6. Thanks for your concern, but I travel internationally a few times a year usually on vacations and not so much for work any longer ( thank goodness).

Maybe if you sawthe benefits of a free market and capitalism you'd be able to vacation where ever you wanted too.
8 Mastershake (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 03:33 pm Report abuse
Haha, awesome. I was actually traveling in Argentina with my cousin when that big train crash happened back in early 2012, we got a real kick out of it. Actually we had ridden the same train just one day prior to the accident, so we thanked our lucky stars. Traveling in such a third world sh*thole is like playing Russian roulette almost, because the infrastructure is so old, unmaintained, and dangerous....well that and the locals who are starving to death and will stab you for a few bucks, hahah ;)
9 Terence Hill (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 05:27 pm Report abuse
It comes as no surprise as the whole country is one big train wreck.
10 Yuleno (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 06:15 pm Report abuse
I do vacation where I like to reqularly.I use air travel,train travel and other forms of travel.
11 Optimus_Princeps (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 06:27 pm Report abuse
This is really depressing considering that even a modest sum of a few million could have prevented this. The families involved will demand justice that they have my support.
12 yankeeboy (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 06:50 pm Report abuse
10. If you are Argentinian you can expect to pay a 40%, yes you read that correctly 40%!!! tax (because what else could it be) exchange fee (maybe) when they use their credit cards outside of the country.

That seems fair

So what is the “real” exchange rate?
Looks like the gov't is moving it to 8 pretty quickly
13 ChrisR (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 07:47 pm Report abuse
Randazzo was claiming the brakes were new within the last six months then when the unions effectively said 'balls' he then claimed it might have been caused on purpose.

Yes, I can see where he is going with this: TMBOA stealing the money earmarked for the renewals.

That's very bad for a Kirchnerite to say, but probably truthful for a change.

But it's always the workers who suffer: they HAVE to use the trains, TMBOA does not.
14 yankeeboy (#) Jun 14th, 2013 - 07:52 pm Report abuse
The U$ that they were going to get from IDB for new rail equipment has not and will not be disbursed, then China was going to “loan” then the money to buy their equipment but the “loan” has not been forthcoming either.
Pretty hard to buy stuff when you don't have U$.

Soy for train anyone?

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