Flicker of reconciliation? UK sends condolences to Argentina after crash

By Ian Dunt

The UK sent condolences to Argentina last night after a train crash killed 49 people in Buenos Aires.

The wreck also injured over 600 others. Passengers claimed the train was travelling too fast.

"I am very sorry to learn of the loss of life following the train crash in Buenos Aires today," said Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne.

"On behalf of the British government I send my condolences to Argentina. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, and with the emergency services still trying to help those involved."

The tragedy could provide an opportunity for both countries to pull back from the escalating diplomatic rhetoric over the Falklands Islands in the build-up to the conflict's anniversary.

Argentina recently pushed for countries in its regional group to ban ships with Falkland's flags from using its ports and branded the deployment of Prince William on search-and-rescue duty an act of colonialism.

Observers will hope that the message of sympathy from the Foreign Office could subdue tensions around the disputed territory.

The train crash is the third to hit Buenos Aires in six months.

Argentina's transport secretary, Juan Pablo Schiavi, said one carriage had been flung up to six metres into the next.

Hours after the crash, hundreds were still trapped in the mangled remains of the train, which was carrying over 1,000 passengers.

Police claim the train's brakes failed as it arrived at the station, but that version of events has been contested by survivors.