Police detain Spain train crash driver

2013-07-26 13:48

Spain – Police say they have detained the driver of a train that crashed in northwestern Spain and killed 78 people.

Galicia region National Police Chief Jaime Iglesias says driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was officially detained in the hospital where is recovering.

Iglesias said today Garzon Amo would be questioned “as a suspect for a crime linked to the cause of the accident.”

He says the driver is being guarded by police and cannot yet testify because of his medical condition. Iglesias said he did not have details of the medical condition but that it could delay the driver’s statement.

Police scientists examining the remains of those killed in Spain’s worst train crash in decades lowered the death count from 80 people to 78 today, and said the count could change as they continue their work identifying body parts and associating them with others.

Investigators, meanwhile, have taken possession of the “black boxes” of the train, which hurtled at high speed along a curve and derailed, court spokeswoman Maria Pardo Rios said.

The boxes record a train’s trip data, including speed and distances and braking, and are similar to flight recorders for airplanes.

The revised death toll came as forensic scientists matched body parts with each other at a makeshift morgue set up in a sports arena in Santiago de Compostela, in the northwestern Galicia region, where the train crashed Wednesday just as it was entering the outskirts of the city, said Antonio de Amo, the police chief in charge of the scientific service for Spain’s National Police.

De Amo said police are still working to identify what they believe are the remains of six people.

The train’s operator remained hospitalised and will be questioned by police but Rios said the interview will not happen today.

Analysis will be performed to determine why the train was travelling far above the speed limit when it crashed near a station in Santiago de Compostela, Rios said. She declined comment on how long the analysis will take.

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