Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spain: Driver of High-Speed Train Being Held, 79 Dead, 71 Others in Critical Condition

Spanish authorities have reported that high-speed train driver, Francisco José Garzón, would be taken before a judge, perhaps today (July 28), to face charges of his complicity in the death of 79, as well 71 others that remain in critical condition.

The passengeer train derailed near the town of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday (July 24) along the route linking Madrid and the Atlantic coastal city of Ferrol.

At the moment, Garzón is being held in police custody on suspicion of multiple charges of negligent homicide. 

COMMENT: Garzón asserted his right to remain silent when police sought to question him at the hospital.

Authorities have initially reported that excessive speed may be to blame for the derailment and crash. Garzón earlier in the week acknowledged that he was going at around 190 kph (118 mph) on a curve with a speed limit of 80 kph (about 50 mph).

The train involved in the accident entered service in 2012 and can reach speeds up to 250 kph (155 mph) on international rail networks and 220 kph (136 mph) on the Spanish high-speed rail system.

The signals on the stretch where the accident occurred were operating properly at the time of the derailment and the train had been inspected earlier in the day on Wednesday, the day of the derailment.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.