Portugal Fiery Collision

Portugal Fiery Collision

It may prove to be the worst rail disaster in Portugal's history. At 2:40 p.m. last Wednesday, the seven-coach Sud Express, carrying hundreds of Portuguese emigrant workers, pulled out of the main station at Oporto, on Portugal's Atlantic coast, and headed east, destination Paris. Two hours later, a westbound local rumbled out of the Guarda station, some 80 miles southeast of Oporto, and sped toward its final destination, the city of Coimbra. But a fatal miscalculation, which railway officials later attributed to "human error," permitted the two trains to pursue their opposing courses along the same track.

At 6:40 p.m., the...

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