Federal planning minister, Julio De Vido, has accused the government-run company Ferrobaires of having dispatched a train in an unfit condition, causing Wednesday night’s accident in the district of San Martín. The crash, which happened at 7.04pm on the line between Retiro and Junín, involved two trains. Two of the four brakes in the Ferrobaires train were jammed, which De Vido called “a huge lack of responsibility, at least from an administrative point of view, on the part of whoever let the Ferrobaires train leave.” He added that blame could not lightly be apportioned to the workers who may have made human mistakes.
Juan Manuel Yalj, the federal magistrate of San Martín in charge of the investigation, confirmed that two of the brakes had been intentionally jammed with nails and a padlock, stating that the working condition of the train “left a lot to be desired.” He also spoke of the train continuing despite warning signals. “I believe the main question is what the drivers did. It is being ascertained whether the brakes were applied. If they were, the question is why they took so long and why (the drivers) jumped three traffic lights, two red and one amber.”
The two drivers, named by news agency Télam as Sergio Balbi and Pablo Raviolados, are being questioned today. This weekend a crash reconstruction will be carried out in order to check the suitability of the track, the function of the light signals and the visibility of the location.
Ferrobaires, which is based in Buenos Aires, has not yet commented. The crash left at least four dead and more than a hundred injured, nine of whom remain in hospital. Police are still looking for a man and a woman who were reportedly travelling on these trains.