Spanish train crash driver refuses to answer police questions
Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, was arrested in the hospital where he is recovering after the crash which killed 78 passengers and injured another 130.
Galicia region police chief, Jaime Iglesias, earlier said Garzon would be questioned "as a suspect for a crime linked to the cause of the accident" and said he had been arrested for "recklessness".
Spanish police formally detain the driver of train that derailed on Wednesday killing 78 people and injuring scores.
Spanish police said Friday they have formally detained the driver of a fast-moving train that flew off the tracks, killing dozens of people.
© Screenshot: Youtube
"He has been detained since 8 pm (Thursday). He is accused of crimes related to the accident," said Jaime Iglesias, the chief of police in the northwestern region of Galicia where the accident happened.
Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, the driver of the Spanish train that derailed killing at
Last March, on his Facebook page Amo posted photos of the train’s speedometer, which showed a speed of 200 kilometers per hour. One of his friends left a comment with a request to slow down, and Amo replied that he had not exceeded the limit so far. The driver was also reminded that he could lose his license if the National Guard noticed a violation.
Amo did not take the message seriously: "Imagine what a thrill – to drive past the National Guard in a way that their radars will be damaged. Ha-ha, a fine for RENFE (a railway company) will be enormous".
The photos were removed on Thursday, the day after the railway accident.
Spanish police said on Friday they found 78 bodies following the train derailment in the northwest of the country. They’ve been able to identify 72 of the victims.
Earlier, government officials had put the death toll for Wednesday’s accident at 80.
The driver of a Spanish train that derailed, killing at
The eight-carriage train came off the tracks, hit a wall and caught fire just outside the pilgrimage destination Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain on Wednesday night. It was one of
The source had knowledge of the official investigation into a crash which brought misery to Santiago on Thursday, the day when it should have celebrated one of Europe's biggest Christian festivals. Authorities canceled festivities as the city went into mourning.
The Galicia regional supreme court said in a statement the judge investigating the accident had ordered police to take a statement from the driver.
He was being formally investigated and under police guard but not under arrest, the court said. He was in hospital but it was not clear what kind of injuries he had suffered.
Video footage from a security camera showed the train, with 247 people on board, hurtling into a concrete wall at the side of the track as carriages jack-knifed and the engine overturned.
One local official described the aftermath of the crash as like a scene from hell, with bodies strewn next to the tracks.
The impact was so huge one carriage flew several meters into the air and landed on the other side of a high concrete barrier.
Around 94 people were injured, 35 of them, including four children, in a serious condition, the deputy head of the regional government said.
"We heard a massive noise and we went down the tracks. I helped get a few injured and bodies out of the train. I went into one of the cars but I'd rather not tell you what I saw there," Ricardo Martinez, a 47-year old baker from Santiago de Compostela, told Reuters.
Newspaper accounts cited witnesses as saying the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, who had helped rescue victims, shouted into a phone: "I've derailed! What do I do?".
The 52-year-old had been a train driver for 30 years, said a spokeswoman for Renfe, the state train company.
A court source told Reuters there was one driver on the train. Previously, a Galicia government source had said there were two.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain visited the victims of the train crash which claimed 80 lives on Wednesday evening in the city of Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
Thursday evening saw the King and Queen, in company of the President of Galicia, Alberto Nunez Feijoo and Public Works Minister, Ana Pastor, visited Hospital Clinic in Santiago where some 90 people still receiving treatment are being treated for the injuries they sustained when the high-speed train between Madrid and Ferrol came off a bend with an 80 km/h speed limit at a speed thought to be close to 190 km/h.
After the visit the King gave his condolences for what is the second worst rail accident in Spanish history and highlighted the pain that is being felt throughout the country.
"All I can say is that all Spaniards are united at this moment and we are all with the victims and their families, with the friends of the victims and we hope that within this misfortune we can all help with the different problems they might have," he said.
"I am speaking of those who are suffering as a result of this sad event, who as human beings and as Spaniards, move us and fill us with pain and sadness in order to transmit our deepest affection and the closeness and solidarity of the Royal Family," he said, before being taken to the crash site.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago, also visited the accident site and the hospital, where he promised help to those affected by the tragedy, including 35 people described as being in a critical condition.
Meanwhile Feijoo paid homage to the work of emergency services and of ordinary people who had raced to aid the injured after the accident, including firemen, who immediately called off strike action in order to give help.
Spain will observe three days of official mourning for the victims of a train accident that killed at least 77 passengers and injured more than 140, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Thursday.
"Today I will sign a decree declaring three days of official mourning in all of Spain," he told reporters in his hometown of Santiago de Compostela where the accident occurred.
Near a bend in the track on the outskirts of the Spanish pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela lie the twisted, gutted shells of the train carriages. One is rammed into a concrete siding, another snapped like a branch over the top of a third. Bits of twisted metal from a fourth are scattered nearby. A few bodies wrapped in white sheets are lying along the tracks, waiting for emergency workers in orange and yellow vests to carry them away. In the meanwhile, the survivors of the horrific crash share their experiences with the world press.
One of the survivors told the
"When I came to senses," the survivor continued, "I was lying on the floor. There were people around. They were under seats, crushed and with fatal wounds."
The surviving passender was seated at the front of the train.
In general, this part of the train is often considered to be safer than the middle or the end of the train.
The man also shared with the Spanish media that there was a loud blast when the train derailed.
"I thought there was a blast. But it seems like nothing have exploded," he said.
"At first I couldn’t help anyone as I had to realize what had happened. Then I saw a woman near me. She was asking for help, but you need to understand that I couldn’t help a great deal," the survivor concluded.
The death toll in Spain's worst high-speed rail accident climbed to 78 Thursday, as investigators focused on whether excessive speed was to blame.
The train carrying 218 passengers from Madrid to Ferrol, derailed and split apart late Wednesday in Angrois at about four kilometres from the regional capital, Santiago de Compostela.
Seventy-three people were killed instantly, while four died in hospital, sources at the Galician Superior Court said. Several among the 145 injured were in critical condition.
Some of the dead and injured victims are yet to be identified.
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