Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina train crash: Driver blames faulty brakes

Rescue workers pull driver Marcos Cordoba from the train
Image caption Train driver Marcos Cordoba had to be cut out of the locomotive cab after the accident

The driver of an Argentine train that crashed on Wednesday, killing 51 people, has blamed faulty brakes for the accident, officials say.

More than 700 were injured when the train hit buffers as it came into a station in the capital, Buenos Aires.

According to the sources, the driver said he had warned his supervisors he was having problems with the brakes, but was reportedly told to keep going.

Investigators said they would check the control room recordings.

Driver Marcos Cordoba is being investigated on suspicion of what Argentine law calls "guilty damage without an attempt to cause harm".

Mr Cordoba, 28, was injured in the crash and had to be cut out of the locomotive cab by firefighters.

According to Noticias Argentinas news agency, Mr Cordoba told investigators he had alerted the control room to the braking problem.

"At every station, I radioed the controller and told him I was having problems with the brakes; and they'd just tell me: 'carry on, carry on'," the agency quotes Mr Cordoba.

Judge Claudio Bonadio allowed Mr Cordoba to go home after making his statement, although he told him to report to the prosecutor's office weekly.

Blood tests showed Mr Cordoba had not been drinking or using drugs when the accident happened.

Transport Minister Juan Pablo Schiavo said recordings of the conversations between the driver and the control room would be reviewed as part of the investigation.

On Friday, the number of dead was revised up to 51 after the body of a 20-year-old man was found in the wreckage - the only passenger who had not yet been accounted for.

Wednesday's accident was Argentina's worst train crash since February 1970, when a train smashed into another at full speed in suburban Buenos Aires, killing 200 people.

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