Thousands of Argentines spent Thursday trekking from hospital to hospital to check lists of train crash victims, hoping they wouldn't have to go to the morgue. One family's search ended at both places.
Sofia Peralta, 19, was pulled from the wreckage of Train 3772 and taken to the judicial morgue. Her brother Fernando, 18, was rushed to the Ramos Mejia hospital, barely conscious and seriously injured, with exposed leg fractures and damage to his arm and face.
The siblings were inseparable, taking the Sarmiento line trains downtown each day to their jobs as telemarketers at Nextel Communications, their uncle Daniel Peralta said.
"They were always together," he said. "Fernando was studying to be a journalist ... Sofia, I am not sure. She was always full of life, and very happy, always."
At first, Fernando seemed to have amnesia, unable to recall any details of the crash or even recognize his family. But within hours, he appeared to recover.
"When he woke up, he remembered first his sister. We told him Sofia was gone. He looked at us for a while, then he went very quiet," Peralta said.
Nearly two-dozen accident victims were in the orthopedics ward at Ramos Mejia. Most were heavily sedated.
A ward nurse, speaking with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because she wasn't authorized to give interviews, said the shock and trauma from Wednesday's disaster could take a long time for some survivors to overcome.
"There is a need for much psychological treatment. These survivors have been through a lot, and now the memories keep flooding back," she said. "Last night, many were having nightmares of the crash."
The relatives of the Peralta siblings suffered their own nightmarish journey, checking more than a dozen hospitals in search of Sofia, only to find her in the morgue.
"I don't think there are any words that can describe the pain of losing your loved one," her aunt, Mirta Soria, said in a text message to the AP. "Now nothing will bring Sofi back to us, and she was a good person. It's not fair that she's gone. We still have Fernando, my nephew, who thank God is hospitalized, but alive."