Spain train crash driver detained

Tragic disaster kills 78 people

WRITTEN BY: Michael DeLaney
Image Source: Contando Estrelas via Flickr

The driver involved in the Spain train crash that occurred Wednesday night has been arrested and is under criminal investigation for the high-speed train crash that killed at least 78 people.

The Spain train crash is one of the worst European rail disasters in recent memory. Reports from the department of health in Galicia (a province of northwestern Spain) say that 81 victims of the Spain train crash are still being treated in hospitals; 31 of them are in critical condition.

On Wednesday afternoon the eight-car train left Madrid with its 218 passengers for Santiago de Compostela, to celebrate the feast day of St. James the Apostle. It was near the end of the passengers’ six-hour journey that the Spain train crash occurred.

The train is reported to have been travelling as fast as 120 miles per hour as it banked a curve and jerked off of the track, smashing against the curved wall.

The driver involved is Francisco José Garzón Amo, who has been operating trains for over 30 years. Amo seemed to have a taste for excessive speeds in the past, however. On his Facebook page last year, he posted photos of a speedometer hitting over 125 miles per hour and bragged about the potential thrill of racing past authorities.

It has been reported that there were no traces of alcohol in Amo’s system. Authorities will investigate the block box aboard the train to see if it provides any further clues to the Spain train crash.

The accident took place about three miles outside of Santiago de Compostela, in a “transition zone,” preparing for the train’s slower arrival. This transition zone is one where the trains slow from their high speeds as they prepare to pass through urban areas. The system in place gives the driver ample warning signals to slow down but does not automatically brake the train.

Victims and witnesses of the Spain train crash liken the horrific fallout of the disaster to The Walking Dead. Many of the passengers involved in the crash suffered severe burns as a result to the train’s diesel fuel that ignited upon impact.

In the aftermath of the Spain train crash, the town of Santiago de Compostela canceled their St. James festival plans and instead paid respect to the victims and survivors of the crash. Thousands of people traveled to mourn the crash site and donate blood to the victims currently in the hospital.

The Spain train crash is the country’s most tragic train crash since 1972, which resulted in the deaths of 86 people. 

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