|07-26-2013, 12:56 AM||#1|
American among 80 killed in Spain train crash
The driver of the train that crashed in Spain, killing at least 80 people including one American, was detained and put under formal investigation Thursday after security video showed the train derailed after speeding around a tight curve.
Excessive speed has been identified as the likely main cause of the accident, official sources told Reuters as hospitals treated dozens of injured passengers, including at least five Americans.
Robert and Myrta Fariza of Houston, Texas, and Stephen Ward of Bountiful, Utah, are among those who survived the crash.
Robert Fariza said that with only a few minutes left until his destination, the train was travelling at a high speed.
"Where everyone started knowing something had gone wrong was the fact that it started to flip," Fariza said. "Once it took that curve, it just took just like an 18-wheeler, so it took a very strong curve for it to flip over, and that's what actually happened in our car."
Fariza said the train car he and his wife were in flipped over.
"It became chaos, things flew and everything, it was sudden darkness and I was kind of thrown on one side of the train and that's why I'm kind of all kinds of beaten up here, and my wife, unfortunately, she was sitting on the side where the train flipped over, so everything kind of fell on her," he said.
Myrta Fariza was hospitalized in critical condition.
Fariza was able to come out of the wreckage, where a horrifying scene awaited.
"There was dead people everywhere, unfortunately, and right next to me there was a young man who had died right there," he said.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that "the American people grieve with our Spanish friends."
Spain has declared three days of national mourning over the crash, Europe’s worst mainline rail accident for more than 25 years. The death toll has climbed to 80 and could rise further, Galicia regional officials told Reuters and AFP.
The horrific moment when the express train left the tracks on Wednesday night was captured on security video obtained by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.
Images from the scene showed bodies covered in blankets and towels lying next to toppled and crushed carriages as rescuers worked to pull survivors out of broken windows.
The driver - one of two in the cab at the time of the crash - has been put under formal investigation and was being held in custody in the hospital where he is being treated, the Supreme Court of the Galicia region said in a statement, according to Reuters.
"The judge has ordered the police to take a statement from the driver," the court said.
El Pais cited sources close to the investigation saying the driver stated immediately after the crash that he had been traveling at 118 mph on the curve, which had a speed limit of 49 mph.
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