Portugal′s fastest train involved in deadly crash | News | DW | 31.07.2020
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Portugal's fastest train involved in deadly crash

At least two people have died in Portugal after the high-speed Alfa Pendular train collided with a maintenance machine. Over 200 people were on board at the time of the crash.

A high-speed train collided with a maintenance machine in central Portugal on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 35, the country's national relief operations authority CNOS said. 

At least seven people were seriously injured, including the train's conductor. 

Over 200 passengers were on board the Alfa Pendular — the country's fastest train — when it crashed, a CNOS spokesman told news agency Reuters. The Alfa Pendular connects all major cities in Portugal and can reach speeds of up to 220 kilometers (137 miles) per hour.

Two medical helicopters and over 160 rescue personnel were on the scene, he added.

A man looks at the damage on an intercity passenger train after it rammed into a maintenance vehicle, at right, on the track in Soure, northern Portugal, Friday, July 31, 2020. (picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Azenha)

A worker surveys the damage after the crash

Victims had been working on tracks

The crash occurred around 3:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. UTC) near the town of Soure, some 180 kilometers north of Lisbon, Portugal's capital. 

According to the mayor of Soure, the two dead had been working on the rail tracks when the collision occurred. 

A spokeswoman for the District Command of Relief Operations in Coimbra said more emergency services were on their way to the scene and that a field hospital was being set up. 

Portugal's president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa published a note online saying he "regrets the serious rail accident" and that he sent his "heartfelt condolences" to the victims' family and friends.

Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, said the government would open an investigation into what caused the accident.

"We need to see what happened here, what went wrong," Santos said.

When asked whether a lack of investment in Portugals rail system could have been a factor, Santos said the state had been investing an “unprecedent amount” in the past decades. But he did not rule anything out.

"We have to wait before we make conclusion," Santos added.

 

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kp/msh (AP, dpa, EFE, Reuters)

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