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article imageSpain train crash: Driver blamed for going 'too fast'

By Abdul Kuddus     Jul 25, 2013 in World
Santiago De Compostela - Within seconds, everything changed when the ill-fated train hurtled off the rails in north-western Spain Wednesday, killing at least 80 passengers and injuring dozens—the worst railway crash in Spain since 1944.
Many of the passengers on the train were travelling to the city of Santiago to celebrate the festival of St. James—one the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ—whose remains are reportedly housed in Santiago's centuries-old cathedral.
Reportedly, the train was travelling beyond the permitted speed of 80 kilometres an hour when it flew off the tracks near Santiago de Compostela.
The Alvia 730 series train runs from Madrid to El Ferrol, about 95 kilometers north of Santiago de Compostela. Alvias run at speed but do not go as fast as Spain's fastest bullet trains, the AVEs, according to reports.
The driver, 52-year-old Francisco Jose Garzon was one among the survivors and has admitted to railway officials after the crash that he had been operating at 190 kilometres an hour.
“We are all human,” the driver mumbled as he was rescued from the crash.
A court in Santiago de Compostela ordered for the driver to be put under investigation and the black box of the train is with the judge in charge of the investigation.
According to a report in the Guardian, many passengers experienced strange shocks when entering that bend earlier and they reported the matter, but the warning signs were ignored.
CCTV footage showed the train approaching the bend at an excessive speed before flipping on its side.
Spanish journalist Miguel-Anxo Murado wrote in the Guardian:
“There were arguments for having that section of the route remade completely, but Galicia's particular land tenure regime makes expropriations an administrative nightmare. So the bend was left as it was, and speed was limited there to 80km/h.”
“Ominously, the very day the line was inaugurated in 2011, many passengers noticed a strange shock when entering that bend. Maybe we should have listened to our geography, but everybody (politicians, the media, the people …) were united in their enthusiasm.”
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is planning to declare three days of official mourning for the victims of this tragedy.
While investigations are being carried out into the crash, a question that Spanish authorities and administrators need to answer: Is the driver and the high speed only to be blamed for this tragedy?
More about spain train crash, train derailed, Spain, Derailment, Guardian
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