Some 30 people were killed Wednesday when a high-speed passenger train ran off the tracks near the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

The accident occurred shortly before 9:00 p.m. as the train was approaching a station.

Area residents said they heard a loud noise and then saw the train split into segments.

The locomotive and the first four passenger cars ran off the rails, another car vaulted over an embankment and came to rest near some homes and the remainder of the cars flipped over, witnesses said.

By nightfall, at least 15 bodies had been recovered.

Police sources said passengers remained trapped in the wreckage, while TVE television reported that around 200 people were hurt in the disaster.

Development Minister Ana Pastor is at the accident scene and remains in permanent contact with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, officials said.

Around 50 of those injured in the derailment were taken to the CHUS medical complex in Santiago de Compostela. EFE