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Argentine commuter train slams into station; 80 hurt

Injured operator verbally assaulted by passenger mob

Argentina’s security secretary, Sergio Berni, said it was too early to identify the cause of the commuter train crash.

Martin Di Maggio/European pressphoto agency

Argentina’s security secretary, Sergio Berni, said it was too early to identify the cause of the commuter train crash.

BUENOS AIRES — A commuter train slammed into the bumper at the end of the line Saturday morning at the same station in Buenos Aires where 52 people were killed in a similar crash last year. This time there was no immediate report of deaths, but at least 80 people were injured.

A mob quickly formed, unleashing its fury at the train operators. Passengers chanted ‘‘Murderer, murderer!’’ at the injured driver through the shattered cabin window. Officers intervened and the driver was soon hospitalized under police custody.

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Police in riot gear then took control of the station after the angry crowd broke glass and threw stones in the street outside.

At least 80 people were injured, including an 8-year-old boy, officials said. Of those, five people had broken bones, but none of the wounds were life-threatening, said Security Secretary Sergio Berni.

He said it was too early to say why the train failed to stop, crashing through the hydraulic iron bumper at the end of the line and ending up wedged between the floor and ceiling of the platform.

One end of the bumper that protects the end of the line was driven deep into the train car, while the other end was lifted over the platform and jammed into the turnstiles.

Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo said that driver Julio Benitez had registered negative for alcohol during a routine test before his work shift.

Jorge Ramirez , a 47-year-old cook, entered the second car of the train nine stations before the end of the line. He told said the driver overshot several platforms and had to go in reverse before opening the doors, and that he bypassed one station altogether. Other passengers, however, said that the train seemed to be proceeding correctly.

Firefighters, police, and medical personnel evacuated the wrecked train, but many passengers didn’t wait, kicking out windows to escape cars whose doors were stuck.

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