Latin American immigrants mourn Spain train crash victims, protest to demand investigation

BARCELONA (AP) — Hundreds of Latin American immigrants on Saturday mourned a group of young summer solstice partygoers killed by an express train in northeast Spain, and demanded an investigation into how the accident happened.

The victims were hit by the train as they crossed railway lines to reach a beach festival shortly before midnight Wednesday. Preliminary forensic results released Saturday determined 12 people were killed — one less than previously calculated, based on the body parts found, officials said. At least 14 others were injured.

Around 500 people gathered at Barcelona's Arco de Triunfo to call on "everyone concerned to back a thorough investigation to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again," said Ecuadorean Ambassador Galo Chiriboga, who organized the event.

Ten of those killed have been identified, with five coming from Ecuador, two from Bolivia and two from Columbia. The nationality of one person has not been released, and investigators are still working to identify two others.

The Superior Court of Justice of the Catalonia region, where Barcelona is the capital, asked for the train's black box be made available to accident investigators.

Just before the crash, about 700 people got off a commuter train and were going through an underground passageway crossing on their way to beach bonfires in Castelldefels, south of Barcelona, for the popular feast day of St. John held two days after the summer solstice.

With the tunnel packed with people, about 30 apparently tried get ahead by crossing the tracks, and were hit by the fast-moving train, officials said.

Some of the revelers have claimed there were not enough signs in the tunnel showing the route to the exit and that they were confused by a pedestrian overpass that was chained shut. Officials have insisted there were plenty of signs indicating where passengers should exit the station, and loudspeakers with recordings insisting people should not cross the tracks.

National railway spokesman Enrique Urquijo called the attempt to cross the tracks foolhardy and illegal, noting that penalties can run between €6,000 ($7,376) and €30,000 ($36,882), news agency Europa Press said.

Hours after the tragedy, police fined a Russian woman who had climbed down from the station platform and crossed at the same spot. Video images of her crossing the tracks were played repeatedly Saturday on Spanish television.


Associated Press Writer Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.