Argentina train crash in Buenos Aires ‘kills dozens’

22 February 2012 Last updated at 16:50 ET

The BBC’s Vladimir Hernandez: “This is one of the busiest parts of the rail system”

Some (khoảng chứng) 49 people have been killed (đã chết) and at least 600 injured, officials say, in the worst (tệ hại) train crash in Argentina in 40 years.

The train hit the end of the platform at Once station in the capital Buenos Aires during the morning rush hour (giờ cao điểm).

“We assume that there was some fault (sai lỗi) in the brakes,” Transportation Secretary JP Schiavi said.

Dozens of people were trapped (kẹt) for hours in the wreckage (đống đổ nát) but all have now been successfully taken to safety.

“The train was full and the impact was tremendous (ghê gớm),” a passenger identified as Ezequiel told local television.

Medics (các nhân viên y tế) at the scene were overwhelmed () by the casualties, he added.

“People started to break windows and get out (thoát ra) however (bằng mọi cách) they could,” another eyewitness told Reuters.

“Then I saw the engine destroyed and the train driver trapped amongst the steel (đống sắt thép). There were a lot of people hurt (injured), a lot of kids, elderly (người già),” the eyewitness added.

Police outside Once station had to “keep back the curious and concerned as paramedics (các nhân viên y tế, =medics) treated the injured”, eyewitness Tom English told the BBC.


Analysis: Argentine rail safety

Vladimir Hernandez BBC News, Buenos Aires

Last year, at least 23 people died and over 300 were injured in train accidents in Argentina. The Once station crash is the worst since the 1970s and raises questions about (đạt vấn đề, đặt câu hỏi) the safety of the rail network.

“It is still quite safe,” says Juan Alberto Roccatagliata, the director of the National Rail Authority () until 2010. But, he says, accidents can happen.

“However, investment levels and maintenance have not been up to (tương xứng  với) what is required to reduce the probability of things like this  (chuyện tương tự) happening.”

The Buenos Aires rail system transports some 400 million passengers a year, making it (nên đây là) the biggest in South America. In the 1990s, most of it was privatised (tiếp nhận hóa) in the hope of boosting (tăng cường) investment in infrastructure.

“But this did not happen as the contracts given to private companies did not oblige (buộc được) them to invest in the network,” says Pablo Martorelli, president of the Argentine Rail Institute.

“Companies are not interested in investing as they already get their income from state subsidies (trợ cấp nhà nước),” he says.

The train had hit (tông vào, collide with) the barrier (rào chắn) at about 12mph (20km/h), destroying the front of the engine and crunching (làm vỡ nát) the carriages behind it, Mr Schiavi said.

One of the carriages was driven nearly 6m (20ft) into the next, he added.


Critical condition – Tình trạng nguy kịch

Survivors told local media that many people had been injured in a jumble of metal and glass.

Emergency medical system (Hệ thống Y tế Khẩn cấp) director Alberto Crescenti said that some passengers who survived had to have limbs amputated (thực hiện cắt chi). Many suffered from arrested breathing (ngừng thở) and trauma (chấn thương, physical damage or emotional shock with long-lasting efects) to the thorax region (vùng ngực, chest).

Many are in a critical condition (tình trạng nguy ngập) in the city’s hospitals and there are concerns (có quan ngại rằng, người ta e rằng) that the death toll could rise, the BBC’s Vladimir Hernandez in Buenos Aires reports.

Five accidents have occurred in and around the city in recent months, our correspondent says.

Many parts of Argentina’s rail network are antiquated (cổ lổ) and in need of repair (đang ở tình trạng hư hỏng, cần sửa chữa) and this incident will increase concern about lack of investment in the system, he adds.

“This is the responsibility of a company that is known for insufficient maintenance (bảo trì yếu kém) and… improvisation (khả năng nhìn trước sự việc),” Edgardo Reinoso of the train workers’ union (công đoàn công nhân đang sắt) told Reuters.

“Lack of controls” (thiếu kiểm tra đôn đốc on the part of (về phía) state agencies  (các cơ quan nhà nước) was also to blame, Mr Reinoso added.

Trenes de Buenos Aires, the firm which owned the train, expressed its “deep regret (bày tỏ sự ân hận sâu sắc)” over the accident.

“The firm (hãng, công ty) sends its condolences to (gởi lời chia buồn đến) all the families of those passengers who died and remains worried for the state of health of those who were injured,” it said in a statement.

In September 2011, 11 people died when a commuter train  (tàu lửa ra vào thành phố) in Buenos Aires hit a bus crossing the tracks (băng ngang đường tàu) and then hit a second train coming into a station (đang vào ga).

This latest accident is Argentina’s worst train crash since February 1970, when a train smashed into (tông vào, húc vào) another at full speed in suburban (ngoại ô) Buenos Aires, killing 200 people.


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