The number of victims of the train accident in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, has raised to 79, after the confirmation of another death made public this morning, Spanish local time, by the Health Department of the Galician Regional Government. The 79th victim, who succumbed to her injuries, is an American citizen, Myrta Fariza, a woman from Houston who was on the train with her husband Robert. Another 70 people are still being treated at the local hospitals, 22 of them being in a critical situation. The crash, occurred this past Wednesday 25th on the outskirts of the city, on the night the celebration of a public holiday (Galicia saint’s day), when the city receives their usual peak of visitor, being very popular worldwide among tourists and Christian pilgrims. As a result of the accident, festivities were canceled.
Meanwhile, in what regards to the investigation process, as initially reported in the morning edition by El País and the CNN, Francisco José Garzón, driver of the derailed train, has been declaring this afternoon, local time, for at least two hours in front of judge Luis Aláez, under the charge of reckless homicide. Once his declaration concluded, Garzón has been released from prison without bail, but he remain under the charge of negligent homicide. His passport has been retired, and he must attend to the court each week. He would also must return his driving license, being forbidden to drive trains for six months. According to El País, Garzón has admitted his responsibility on the crash, as he took the Angrois curve, where the derailment happened, at a speed of 190 km per hour on an area where the maximum allowed speed is just 80.
The charges against him are the same pointed out yesterday by the Spanish’s interior minister said Saturday, Jorge Fernández Díaz to reporters. Garzón had spent the past two days under detention in hospital, guarded by police. Interior’s sources had commented that the driver was very nervous and, despite not officially declaring to the police, the several informal conversations held with him have been inconclusive on the reasons why he got distracted in his driving. As a consequence, the police still has all investigations lines open, therefore not ruling out any hypothesis yet. But it is clear that after the declaration of Garzón, the theory of the human error, always the most probable cause in the police’s opinion, and the thesis defended by Renfe, Adif (the train and railway system entities) and several governmental authorities, might be definitive answer.
Written By: Raül Jiménez