A train crashed into a bus in Argentina early Tuesday when the driver of the bus tried to get over the rail crossing even though the barriers were down, lights were flashing and bells were sounding off. Because of the incident, a second train crashed into the original, sending the death toll to 11 so far, while more than 200 are reported injured. The incident, which was caught on video from the street, was a surprise to many in Buenos Aires, yet the nation saw 165 vehicles and 440 people hit by trains last year, resulting in 269 deaths.
In the Tuesday incident, the bus driver was halfway across the first rail tracks before an oncoming passenger train smashed into it, sending it into a concrete station platform. The crash forced the first two carriages of the train off the rails and into another train that was due to depart from the station in the other direction. The company that manages the passenger trains expressed its condolences to the victims on Tuesday and stressed that all three automatic warning systems were working at the time the bus tried to cross the tracks. However, the video caught from the street showed one of the arms stopping at a 45-degree angle to narrowly allow the bus underneath.
Alberto Crescenti, the director-general for the country’s emergency medical system, said that, among the 11 people killed was the bus driver. Plus, 20 of the 212 people injured in the accident were in critical condition. It was initially reported that nine people died, as these victims passed at the scene. However, it was later reported that another two people died after arriving at hospitals. The train’s engineer was among the injured, as rescuers had to break his leg to release him from the crumpled metal he was trapped in. The engineer’s chest was crushed and hip broken as well, but he will survive. The engineer of the other train had an operation for a food injury.
Hours after the 6:15am crash, emergency officials were still trying to rescue bodies from the wreckage. The accident happened during the busy morning rush hour in Flores, a densely populated neighborhood in the capital. It’s during this time of the morning that parents use the public transport system to get their kids to school. Argentine Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi said that, because of this, children were among those injured.
Among the hundreds of street-level crossings in Buenos Aires, their danger increases during rush hour. The Sarmiento line, where the collision happened on Tuesday, connects the Moreno suburb to the centre of the capital. This section of the line has more street-level crossings than any other in the city. A project has been delayed for more than ten years that would see the tracks moved into an underground tunnel. The delay is due to financing problems, as the project is estimated to cost $1.2 billion, and legal objections from neighbours.