Spain train derailed at 153km/h

2013-07-30 21:09
Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo is helped by two men as he is evacuated from the site of a train accident in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (La Voz de Galicia, Xoan Soler/ AP)

Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo is helped by two men as he is evacuated from the site of a train accident in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (La Voz de Galicia, Xoan Soler/ AP)

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Madrid - A train that derailed in Spain killing 79 people was travelling at 153km/h at the time of the accident, a court said Tuesday after analysing the train's data recorders.

Moments before the accident the train was travelling at a speed of 192km/h, the court said in a statement, while the speed limit at the spot where the train derailed was set at 80km/h.

"Seconds before the accident the brakes were activated. It is estimated that at the time of the derailment the train was travelling at 153km/h," the High Court of Galicia, which is leading the investigation, said.

The driver of the train was speaking on his work phone at the time of the accident and appeared to consult a map or other document, the court added in a statement.

"Minutes before the train came off the tracks he received a call on his work phone to get indications on the route he had to take to get to Ferrol. From the content of the conversation and background noise it seems that the driver consulted a map or paper document," it said.

The eight-carriage train was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol on Spain's northwestern coast when it flew off the tracks last Wednesday on a bend and ploughed into a concrete siding about 4km from the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela.

Examining judge Luis Alaez on Sunday charged the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, with 79 counts of reckless homicide and released him under court supervision.

The train had two data recording "black boxes" which were analysed for the first time by police on Tuesday in the presence of the examining judge.

State railway company Renfe has said Garzon had been with the firm for 30 years, including 13 years as a driver, and had driven trains past the spot of the accident 60 times.

The train had no technical problems and had just passed an inspection on the morning of the accident, Renfe said.

Read more on:    spain  |  spain train crash

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