‘I’ve Derailed!’: Excess Speed Suspected in Spanish Rail Disaster

Photo Gallery: Video Stills of Spanish Train Crash
AP

Was the driver of the train that derailed in Spain on Wednesday night going too fast? Eyewitness accounts, a video of the deadly crash and statements from the driver himself suggest he was. Why did safety systems fail to prevent the disaster?

“July 24 will no longer be the eve of a day of celebration,” said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, regional president of Spain’s Galicia. Rather, it will commemorate “one of the saddest days” in the region’s history.

Feijoo on Thursday ordered a seven-day period of mourning in the region following the previous night’s disastrous train crash not far from the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. The accident killed 80 people and injured many more, with over 90 reportedly still in the hospital. Dozens of the injured remained in critical condition on Thursday. The train was reportedly carrying 218 passengers and five crew members, though the numbers reported have varied.

The crash is the worst rail disaster seen in Spain in decades, and there are mounting indications that excessive speed may have been the decisive factor in the derailment. Spanish daily El País on Thursday posted a video to its website from a security camera located at the site of the accident. The footage shows the train rapidly coming around a sharp bend before the first and second cars appear to jump the tracks. The engine is dragged onto its side and the rest of the eight-car train piles up behind it. The video ends with the train apparently crashing into the camera.

At least 77 people were killed and over 130 injured on Wednesday evening when a...

AFP

At least 77 people were killed and over 130 injured on Wednesday evening when a train derailed on the outskirts of the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela in one of Europe’s worst train disasters in recent years.

One of the drivers, too, confirmed that he had been travelling too fast. Immediately after the crash, he radioed the railway station, saying he had entered the sharp bend at 190 kilometers per hour (120 mph), more than double the maximum allowed of 80 kmh, according to national broadcaster TVE.

“I’ve derailed! What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” he shouted, according to TVE. He also repeatedly said, “We’re only human! We’re only human!” He then added: “I hope there are no deaths because they would weigh heavily on my conscience.” On Thursday, police opened an investigation into one of the drivers on suspicion that he may bear some responsibility for the disaster.

Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy is expected to visit the crash scene on Thursday.

DPA

Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy is expected to visit the crash scene on Thursday.

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