Train derails in Spain, 56 dead, at least100 injured: reports

the wreckage will stir memories of 2004's train bombing in Madrid’s Atocha station, carried out by Islamists, that killed 191 people.

El correo Gallego/Antonio Hernandez/AP

The wreckage will stir memories of 2004’s train bombing in Madrid’s Atocha station, carried out by Islamists, that killed 191 people.

A train in northwestern Spain derailed Wednesday, tossing passenger cars on their sides and scattering bodies along the tracks with as many as 56 believed dead and at least 100 injured, Spanish newspapers said.

Dozens of corpses covered in blankets lined the ground along the train tracks leading into Santiago de Compostela, the capital city of Galicia, according to Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

A Spanish official told reporters at least 56 people had died.

The crash happened a day before Santiago de Compostela’s main festival paying tribute to the remains of St James, one of Jesus' 12 disciples.

SXENICK/EPA

The crash happened a day before Santiago de Compostela’s main festival paying tribute to the remains of St James, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.

RELATED: TRAIN DERAILS IN FRENCH SUBURB, KILLING AT LEAST 7 AND INJURING DOZENS

It was too early to say what had caused the derailment that left one carriage ripped in half others smashed and rolled onto their sides, he said.

One train car flew over a 15-foot embankment and landed about 50 feet away from the tracks, El Pais reported.

“It was going so quickly ... It seems that on a curve the train started to twist,” said a passenger.

SXENICK/EFE

“It was going so quickly … It seems that on a curve the train started to twist,” said a passenger.

There were some 222 passengers on the high-speed train, including four crew members.

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Fire and rescue crews quickly descended on the chaotic scene as several carriages burst into flames and smoke wafted through the air.

The accident happened near the train station in Santiago de Compostela, about 60 miles south of El Ferrol, in northern Spain.

OSCAR CORRAL/EPA

The accident happened near the train station in Santiago de Compostela, about 60 miles south of El Ferrol, in northern Spain.

Crews later brought in a giant crane to remove the charred wreckage in a desperate search for those who remained trapped.

The devastating rail crash came on the eve of the ancient city’s main Christian festival when thousands of pilgrims travel in to pack the streets.

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According to the investigation accident source, more than 50 were killed among the 222 passengers that were aboard the high-speed train.

LAVANDEIRA JR/EPA

According to the investigation accident source, more than 50 were killed among the 222 passengers that were aboard the high-speed train.

“It was going so quickly … It seems that on a curve the train started to twist, and the wagons piled up one on top of the other,” passenger Ricardo Montesco told Cadena Ser radio station.

“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning … I was in the second wagon and there was fire … I saw corpses,” he added.

Another witness told the radio station she had heard an explosion before seeing the derailed train.

The train derailed on the eve of the ancient city's main Christian festival when thousands of pilgrims travel.

OSCAR CORRAL/EPA

The train derailed on the eve of the ancient city’s main Christian festival when thousands of pilgrims travel.

RELATED: ENGINEER FAULTED IN QUEBEC TRAIN CRASH

The train apparently went off the rails as it took the sharpest curve along the route near the entrance to Santiago de Compostela’s main station, witnesses said

A spokesman for the regional government’s office described the derailment as an accident — one of the worst in the country’s history.

“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning ... I was in the second wagon and there was fire ... I saw corpses,” said a passenger.

OSCAR CORRAL/EPA

“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning … I was in the second wagon and there was fire … I saw corpses,” said a passenger.

But the wreckage will stir memories of 2004’s train bombing in Madrid’s Atocha station, carried out by Islamists, that killed 191 people.

RELATED: MORE THAN 60 INJURED AFTER TWO TRAINS COLLIDE IN CONN.

“We can confirm there was an accident, but we cannot confirm mortalities as yet,” the official told Reuters.

Emergency members attend to the injured of the train accident close to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain on 24 July.

LAVANDEIRA JR/EPA

Emergency members attend to the injured of the train accident close to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain on 24 July.

The train belongs to the state-owned Renfe company.

The crash happened a day before Santiago de Compostela’s main festival paying tribute to the remains of St James, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.

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The train was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol in north eastern Spain.

LAVANDEIRA JR/EPA

The train was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol in north eastern Spain.

The apostle’s shrine in the city is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.

No one was immediately available to comment from Spanish train operator Renfe whose logo was visible on the wrecked carriages.

With News Wire Services

gotis@nydailynews.com

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