Reuter Reports
RESCUE teams yesterday picked through the mangled wreckage of a passenger train that crashed head on with a freight train, killing 19 people in Spain's worst rail accident for 25 years. The chairman of Spain's state railway company RENFE told a news conference in the city of Albacete, to the south east of Madrid, he could not rule out more deaths from Tuesday night's crash. Eight people were still in hospital. “We don't rule out the possibility of finding more dead,” said chairman Miguel Corsini, adding the accident was due to human error. He said a system which stops trains skipping red signals was working when tested the morning after the crash. RENFE had previously said at least five people were killed and 20 were missing as full rescue efforts had been delayed by intense heat caused by the fire that broke out after the crash. Large cranes in green fields on either side of the crash site, about five km (three miles) from the small town of Chinchilla, removed one of the wagons in the pile-up and carriages unaffected by the crash, which occurred just before 2200 (2000 GMT) on Tuesday. Rescue workers and forensic investigators picked over the wreckage behind a cordon and body parts were slowly being recovered from the first two carriages of the passenger train, where all the dead were sitting. “From when we arrived we knew no one was alive, that was absolutely certain,” Antonio Peinado, head of the provincial fire service, earlier told reporters at the scene. “If there had been the slightest chance that someone was alive we would never have suspended the rescue operations,” he said after search efforts were called off over night. Police said identifying the charred remains was difficult. “We'll be here at least all day and to identify the bodies, much longer...because of the state it's in,” one officer said. The passenger train, which had been travelling to the coastal city of Cartagena from Madrid, had 86 passengers and four crew aboard. The 28-wagon freight train had two crew on board, state railway company RENFE said.

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