Witness to Spanish train crash: It ‘sounded like a thunderstorm,’ bodies ‘on the ground everywhere’

July 25, 2013

The BBC interviewed several local witnesses to the train crash in Spain. (BBC Video)

It's still not clear why a train in northern Spain derailed as it sped through a curve, launching off the tracks and killing 80 people counted so far. But witness accounts are emerging from the scene of the crash, just outside Santiago de Compostela, which they describe in grisly terms.

The BBC spoke to three people who said they were nearby when the train crashed and rushed to help. Video of the interviews, dubbed in English, can be viewed here. One of the witnesses, a local woman, told the British news network: "I saw fire, a lot of smoke. My daughter said, 'Something's happened to the train.' We came, and the train was off the tracks. There were people lying on the ground everywhere."

Another man described feeling the impact:

It felt like a thunderstorm, like an earthquake with rocks falling, a very strong blow. We ran here after we called for help. We opened the back of the wagon, and we started to help people to get out and to move the dead bodies that were on the road. Then the police and ambulances came, and we helped to take care of the wounded. We gave them water, held their drips.

Another man interviewed by the BBC recounted: "I heard an explosion, and when I arrived one of the carriages was already over the road. The neighbors all came over, but we began to get scared because one of the firemen said it might explode." The rear two cars, including the generator and engine, caught fire shortly after the collision.

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