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At least 34 killed as Spanish Metro train derails

Written by: Staff

MADRID, July 3 (Reuters) At least 34 people were killed and more than 20 seriously injured today when a speeding underground train ran off the tracks and overturned in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia, government officials said.

About 150 people were evacuated from the platform of the Jesus Metro station after the accident, which took place days before Pope Benedict was due to visit the seaside city.

Officials ruled out a terror attack in a country still shaky from train bombings by Islamist militants that killed 191 people in Madrid in 2004.

''It seems this unfortunate accident was caused by excess speed and a wheel breaking just before it entered the station,'' government official Luis Felipe Martinez told Spanish radio, adding that the number of dead was still not confirmed.

Two train carriages overturned, officials said.

Police sealed off streets outside the station and crowds watched under bright blue skies as emergency crews rushed injured people into ranks of ambulances.

The Pope has been informed of the accident and went to his private chapel to pray for the victims, Spanish state radio reported.

Pilgrims are already arriving in Valencia ahead of the Pope's two-day visit due to start on Saturday for the World Meeting of Families.


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