A high-speed train derailed in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday night, killing 77 passengers on the spot and injuring over 130.

Emergency fire services rushed to the scene to get the survivors out of the mangled compartments. Many bodies were pulled out through broken windows. The dead were covered in blankets and laid next to the train cars as rescue officials made way through the wreckage.

Local residents were seen rushing to the site carrying blankets and water bottles to help the victims before emergency services arrived.

The crash, believed to be one of the worst railway crashes in European history, saw a train car ripped apart and another one on fire. The Santiago de Compostela train, carrying around 247 passengers on board, was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol when it derailed.

While questions have been risen of the terror attack motif, an official source clarified nothing could be commented before examining the black box of the train. "We are moving away from the hypothesis of sabotage or attack," he told Reuters.  

Reports said that the train was moving at a very high speed when it hit a sharp curve. "It was going so quickly. ... It seems that on a curve the train started to twist, and the wagons piled up one on top of the other," Ricardo Montesco, a survivor, told Cadena Ser radio station.

"A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning. ... I was in the second wagon and there was fire. ... I saw corpses," he added.

Another passenger, Oscar Mateos, told EL Pais that he had seen co-passengers being tossed around from one side to another and some were even thrown out the windows.

Prime Minster of Spain Mariano Rajoy, a native of Santiago de Compostela, expressing his grief said in a statement, In the face of a tragedy such as just happened in Santiago de Compostela on the eve of its big day, I can only express my deepest sympathy as a Spaniard and a Galician."

The fatal crash comes just less than a week after a train derailed and crashed into a remote French station killing six people.

Wednesday's incident was a grim reminder of the 2004 Madrid train bombing by Islamist extremists, that left 191 people dead.