Every day Carlos Tortosa went to Atocha to catch the high-speed train (AVE) to Puertollano, where he worked as a chemist for Repsol. He left his home in San Fernando de Henares where he lived with his parents and siblings. He had been in a relationship for two years and enjoyed spending his spare time with his partner. His family, hearing news of the terrorist attacks, feared the worst when they were unable to contact him by phone.
11 March 2004 fell on a Thursday. Early that morning, a number of terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda planted thirteen bombs on four suburban trains covering routes running through Madrid. Ten of the bombs exploded between 7.37 and 7.39 am, when the trains were at Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia stations and alongside Calle Téllez. 191 people were killed in the attack and around 1,500 were wounded. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Spanish history. On 3 April 2004, agents from the Special Operations Group (GEO) were about to enter an apartment in Leganés where the perpetrators of the attacks were believed to be hiding when the terrorists detonated twenty kilograms of explosives in an act of collective suicide. The ensuing blast killed one of the officers, bringing the total number of people killed by the 11 March bombers to 192.