At least 77 people died after a train derailed in the outskirts of the northern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, the head of Spain's Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, told Cadena Ser radio on Wednesday (July 24).

The train was travelling from Madrid to the northern town of Ferrol in the region of Galicia and derailed before making its entry into Santiago de Compostela station at 2041 CET (1841 GMT), Spanish state train company Renfe said in a statement.

There were 218 people on board plus crew, Renfe said.

The government said it was working on the assumption the derailment, which occurred on the eve of the city's main religious festival, was an accident. There have been reports, however, that the train was travelling almost twice the speed it was supposed to be.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was due to visit the site of the derailment, on the outskirts of the city of Santiago de Compostela on Thursday morning, the Spanish government spokeswoman also said.

The city's tourism board said all festivities, including the traditional High Mass at the centuries-old cathedral, were cancelled as the city went into mourning following the crash.

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