BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A Spanish commuter train crashed into a buffer early Friday at a station in northeastern Barcelona, tossing passengers to the floor and sending 53 people to the hospital, officials said.
Public Works Minister Inigo de la Serna, who visited the scene, said 56 people in all received medical treatment, with 53 taken to city hospitals. Regional health authorities said one man was seriously injured by a blow to the chest, but his life was not in danger as he recovers at Barcelona’s Clinic Hospital.
The accident happened at 7.15 a.m. on a train that began at the coastal town of Sant Vicenc de Calders, south of Barcelona.
“When the train arrived at Francia station it applied the brakes but at the same time it made a noisy crash,” said passenger Said Saharaui.
“The passengers were thrown to the floor,” he said. “Even though the train did brake, it wasn’t until the crash when it reached a full stop.”
The impact of the crash smashed the nose of the train and left it hanging off one side. More damage occurred between the train’s first and second cars.
The accident came as RENFE rail workers staged a one-day strike. The affected train was running as part of minimum services ordered by the Public Works Ministry.
De la Serna said the train had passed its most recent inspection on July 18. He said officials are investigating data and equipment from the driver’s cabin to try to understand the cause of the accident.
He said the 31-year-old driver, who was among 19 people slightly injured, had seven years of service on commuter trains.
Many people in Spain were beginning their summer holidays Friday, with Barcelona and surrounding towns popular destinations.
Francia is Barcelona’s second main train station after Sants, which handles the bullet train and most intercity services.