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2 Trains Collide in Chile; 58 Die, Hundreds Hurt

February 19, 1986|United Press International

LIMACHE, Chile — Two trains packed with hundreds of summer vacationers collided head-on as they raced around a mountain curve, killing at least 58 people, authorities said Tuesday.

More than 510 people were injured, about 150 of them seriously, in the Monday night crash--believed to be Chile's worst rail accident, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise as searchers combed the wreckage.

Only six of the dead were immediately identified. Authorities said they did not know whether any foreigners were among them. Witnesses said some passengers were trapped alive for hours.

A Chilean state railways spokesman blamed the accident, which occurred near the town of Limache, 87 miles northwest of Santiago, on "human error by whoever was in charge of routing."

Three dispatchers and the acting supervisor of the rail stations at Limache and nearby Penablanca were arrested as part of a court-ordered investigation, police said Tuesday.

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