Buenos Aires Mass Transit Has a Bad Record of Accidents

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In news that ought to give pause to mass transit commuters everywhere, 49 people are reportedly dead and 550 injured in a gruesome (and sadly not unusual) train crash this morning in Buenos Aires. A train at one of the city's hub station apparently slammed into the end-of-the-line barrier at only 12 miles per hour, which is enough to have "one car penetrate nearly 20 feet (six meters) into the next" and trap 30 passengers in another car, requiring rescue workers to punch a hole through the metal to remove injured people on stretchers (below). The AP recalls the havoc: "Passengers said windows exploded as the tops of train cars separated from their floors. The trains are usually packed with people standing between the seats, and many were thrown into each other and to the floor by the force of the hard stop.

Though the number of casualties and injures in today's accident are scary in and of themselves, train crashes regrettably happened with some frequency in recent memory on Argentina's privatized transportation system. There were the 11 killed when a bus operated by Trenes de Buenos Aires, the same company that operates the train that crashed today, tried to beat a train going across a rail crossing in September. There were 8 killed in August when another bus-train collision the Buenos Aires Province; 70 injured in a April two-train crash apparently due to a conductor's error; 4 dead in another two-train crash in February; and finally, 50 injured in a December 2010 accident.

By that count, which is the same as what Fox News found, today's rail mishap is the sixth major accident in Buenos Aires 14 months.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.