By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Early Wednesday morning (February 27th), two commuter trains collided when one train smashed into the rear of another at the São Cristóvão station in Rio de Janeiro’s North Zone.
“At the time, we only thought about running,” said Amanda Cristina dos Santos Campos who witnessed the collision to Globo news. “The noise of the iron being twisted was very loud,” she added.
The accident occurred at around 6:50AM while one of the trains was stopped at the São Cristóvão Station, one of the busiest train stations in Rio. The collision injured eight passengers while trapping the rear train’s driver, 40-year-old Rodrigo da Silva Ribeiro Assumpção, in the wreckage between the two cars.
Over sixty firefighters worked feverishly for over seven hours to rescue Assumpção from the sea of twisted metal. Firefighters were finally able to pull Assumpção out of the wreckage at about 2:30PM, but he succumbed to his injuries soon thereafter.
“[I]t was very risky because the wreckage could’ve collapsed on top of all of us at any time,” explained fire department captain Rodrigo Barbosa about the rescue.
“The moment we found [Assumpção], he was still beating and breathing….We did our best. We sympathize with the family,” Barbosa lamented.
The train company, SuperVia, released a statement saying, “SuperVia regrets the death of the engineer Rodrigo da Silva Ribeiro Assumpção, which occurred today, around 3:30 p.m., after more than eight hours of service by the Fire Department.”
According to fire department officials, the eight individuals who were injured in the collision were taken to the hospital and were all in stable condition.
The investigation into the cause of the accident is now underway with reports indicating that both trains involved were equipped with black boxes that officials hope will shed light on the reason for the collision.