30 dead in Spain metro crash

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Monday, July 3, 2006

At least 43 people have died and at least 46 injured, 4 of whom are in critical condition, in a metro train crash in Spanish city of Valencia, according to the regional government.

It has been reported that two of the carriages have derailed and overturned, leading to the evacuation of 150 passengers.

A part of the wall in the tunnel between the Plaza de España and Jesús stations in the southwestern neighborhood of Patraix may have collapsed, causing the derailment of one of the carriages, which in turn caused the carriage behind it to overturn.

Another theory put forth by subdelegate of the regional government Luis Felipe Martínez is that the wheels on one of the carriages fell off while the train was speeding. The same source has also confirmed that there are two overturned carriages.

The fire department, paramedics and local police are on the scene after a passenger in the crashed train called the emergency services at about 1:03 p.m. CEST (1103 UTC). The authorities have closed the area to all road traffic and routes 1 and 2 of the Valencia metro system, which use the affected rail tracks, are shut down.

The incident comes days before Pope Benedict XVI was due to visit Valencia for the World Meeting of the Families, expected to be attended by one million pilgrims.