News / Europe

    Spain Train Crash Driver Detained

    Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon (R) is helped by two men after his train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013.
    Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon (R) is helped by two men after his train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013.
    VOA News
    Spanish police said they have arrested the driver of a speeding train that crashed Wednesday, killing at least 78 people.

    Authorities said Saturday that they are investigating Francisco José Garzón Amo on charges of criminal recklessness.

    The 52-year-old driver was detained Friday in the hospital where he is recovering from injuries he sustained in the crash.

    Reports said the train may have been traveling more than twice the 80-kilometer-per-hour speed limit when it rounded a curve outside the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela and derailed.

    Authorities will learn more from the data recorded by the train's "black box," which investigators now have in their possession.

    Spain's state train company, Renfe, said Garzón is a 30-year company veteran with more than a decade of train driving experience.

    Spanish media report the driver bragged about speeding online, with one post on his now-deleted Facebook page featuring a picture of a train speedometer at 200 kilometers per hour and a comment by Garzón, said "I am on the edge, I can't go faster or else I will be fined."

    Spanish authorities have opened two investigations into the derailment - one by judicial authorities and another by the public works department.

    Security camera footage shows the train traveling Wednesday night from Madrid to the port of Ferrol, slamming into a concrete wall at the side of the track, its first car overturning.

    More than 140 people were injured in the crash, and with some remains still unidentified, authorities say the death toll could change.

    A passenger train drives past the site of a train crash, with the train engine (R) derailed from the track, in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 27, 2013.A passenger train drives past the site of a train crash, with the train engine (R) derailed from the track, in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 27, 2013.
    x
    A passenger train drives past the site of a train crash, with the train engine (R) derailed from the track, in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 27, 2013.
    A passenger train drives past the site of a train crash, with the train engine (R) derailed from the track, in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 27, 2013.
    The accident is one of the deadliest train crashes in Spanish history. In 1944, three trains collided in a tunnel, killing hundreds. In 1972, as many as 86 people died in a crash in the country's southwest.

    On Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, visited the crash site and the hospital where many of the injured are being treated. He declared three days of mourning to honor the victims.

    Recovery teams used cranes Thursday to move the train cars from the scene of the derailment.

    The disaster happened on the eve of an annual festival dedicated to Saint James, one of Jesus' disciples, whose remains are said to rest in Santiago's centuries-old cathedral.

    The apostle's shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages and has had a resurgence in popularity in recent decades.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora