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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid