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Spain mourns as 12 killed on train tracks

A high-speed train has hit a group of young people crossing the tracks at Castelldefels Playa station in Spain killing at least 12.

Officials confirmed a further 14 people were injured during the accident, on the outskirts of Barcelona, with three now in critical condition.

Having arrived by commuter train from Barcelona, the group was reportedly headed for the San Juan mid-summer festival, electing to cross the tracks rather than use a nearby pedestrian crossing.

Local police told reporters the underpass was open and signposted.

The head of the regional emergency services, Josep Maria Soto, told Spain’s TV3 television the cause of the accident was under investigation but “the positions of the first victims we found gives the impression they were hit” by a train as they were crossing the track.

Castelldefels Playa

The accident occurred at 23:30 local time on Wednesday, according to a statement from the interior ministry of the regional government of Catalonia.

One witness, Fernando Ortega, told Spanish media the train the group had arrived on was “very full” and a large number of people got out at the same time so “most decided to jump across the tracks and cross to the other side of the station” to avoid the crush.

The head of the Civil Protection Department for the Catalonia regional government, Jose Ramon Mora, said the group crossed the tracks above ground rather than using a designated tunnel underneath.

Passengers on the express train, which was travelling from Alicante to Barcelona, were unhurt, he added.

The line remains closed following the incident.

It was the worst rail accident in Spain since 19 people were killed and 38 injured in a June 2003 collision between a passenger train and a freight train in the south-eastern town of Chinchilla.