Buenos Aires train crash vigil turns violent after discovery of 51st victim

The discovery of a 51st victim two days after Argentina’s deadliest train crash in decades left the man’s family devastated and prompted rock-throwing and other violence by protesters holding a vigil at the scene.

The search for 20-year-old Lucas Menghini Rey, whose body was missed in Wednesday’s chaotic rescue effort, brought a sharp focus to widespread anger over the crash, which also injured 703 of the 1,500 people on the packed train.

Family and friends collapsed together at the news, while others keeping vigil at the station erupted in anger.

Some shouted “throw them all out, not one should remain!” The phrase became famous during the protests of a decade ago, when public outrage over a failed economy forced a series of presidents to resign.
Riot police responded with tear gas and batons, clearing the station and making arrests. At least one officer was bloodied, and dozens of youths threw objects at passing buses and taxis.

Some started small fires and looted stores in the station as Mr Menghini Rey’s family and friends left in tears.

The cause remains unclear. One employee, who could face criminal charges for failing to stop in time, was allowed to go home after giving his statement to the investigative judge, his union’s spokesman told the local Diarios y Noticias news agency.

But many commuters are furious that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government has apparently ignored repeated warnings about inoperable or missing brake equipment and other safety threats. And many suspect corruption and mismanagement contributed to the tragedy.

Mr Menghini Rey had not appeared on any lists of dead or injured, about 30 of whom remain in hospital, and city officials announced that all other passengers had been accounted for.

His body was found after Security Minister Nilda Garre personally took over and ordered police back to the wreck, searching “even in the most impossible places”, Telam reported.

Inside the station, his family and friends had stacked boxes plastered with his picture and numbers to call, along with the phrase “we are as fragile as cardboard”, a feeling shared by many after seeing how the massive train cars crumpled and crushed hundreds of passengers inside.

Mr Menghini Rey’s family had not seen him since he said goodbye early that morning to his three-year-old daughter, promising to bring her a toy when he came back from work at a call centre, his friend Fernando Diaz said.

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