An express train derailed as it hurtled around a curve in northwestern Spain on Wednesday, killing 77 people and injuring more than 100, officials said.
At least 73 people died at the scene, and four others died while hospitalized, said María Pardo Ríos, spokeswoman for the Galicia regional supreme court. In Spain, judges typically record deaths that take place outside of hospitals.
More than 20 injured victims remained in critical condition early Thursday, said Agustin Hernandez Fernandez of the Galicia infrastructure ministry.
Flames burst out of one train car as another car was snapped in half, following the crash. Rescue crews and fellow passengers pulled out bodies through broken windows and pried open doors as stunned survivors looked on.
The state railway Renfe said the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The train had 218 passengers aboard and was nearing the end of a six-hour trip from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m., Wednesday, the railway said.
It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. It was capable of going up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), said Julio Hermida, spokesman for the state railway.
Residents who lived near the tracks told the Voz de Galicia newspaper that they heard a thunderous bang when the train crashed. Many of them rushed to the area with blankets and bottled water for the injured, the newspaper reported.
"The train had broken in half. Some pieces were on top, some pieces were on the bottom," said Ivette Rubiera Cabrera of Florida, who caught a glimpse of the wreckage while on a family vacation in Spain.
"It was quite shocking," she said. "We had never seen anything like that. We had just been on the train last week.