BUENOS AIRES, Argentina-- A train slammed into a bus trying to beat it across the railroad tracks during rush hour in the Argentine capital Tuesday, ramming the vehicle into a platform and then striking another locomotive head-on. At least nine people were killed and more than 212 injured, authorities said.
The bus driver was among those killed, Argentine Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi said.
The force of the arriving train reduced the bus to a fraction of its width as it became wedged against the station platform in the densely populated Flores neighborhood. The front of the train then slammed into another train that was preparing to leave in the opposite direction. Video of the crash shows the bus driving around a partially lowered barrier despite flashing lights that warned of the oncoming train.
As with many crossings in the city, nearby buildings are so close to the tracks that drivers have little visibility of approaching trains.
Schiavi said children were among those injured in the accident, which happened at 6:15 a.m. local time just when many parents use public transportation to take their children to school.
Helicopters helped carry the injured to at least seven hospitals around the city.
According to Argentina's national transportation regulator, 440 people and 165 vehicles were hit by trains in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area last year, causing a total of 269 deaths -- more than one every other day on average.
Buenos Aires' passenger rail system moves at street level through most neighborhoods of the capital and the surrounding province, trying the patience of drivers and people walking by who often can be seen ignoring the lights, bells and barriers that signal approaching trains. The potential for collisions increases at rush hour, particularly next to stations, where trains arrive every few minutes and the barriers remain down while passengers get on and off.
The Sarmiento line where Tuesday's collisions occurred connects the suburb of Moreno to the Once station downtown, and has more street-level crossings than any other in the capital. A $1.2 billion project to move its tracks into an underground tunnel has been delayed for more than a decade.