Pensioners, students, a footballer...Galicia counts victims of disaster


Santiago de Compostela

Antonio Reyes had set off on Wednesday with his wife Rosa Quijano and their daughter Fátima to meet friends in Santiago de Compostela.

The group they were meeting had just finished walking the arduous road trodden by pilgrims for centuries.

With them on board the train from Madrid were two couples, Esperanza Márquez and Francisco García, and Ignacio Bustamante and Josefa Álvarez. They were all looking forward to a long weekend beginning on Thursday with the feast of St James the Apostle, Galicia’s biggest Christian festival.

Of the seven people who caught that train, only Josefa and Fátima – who suffers from Down’s syndrome – survived. The rest died when the train tore itself from the rails two miles outside Santiago station on Wednesday night.

It is now known that pensioners, students, teachers, mechanics and footballers were among the 80 people who died in Spain’s worst train disaster in more than 40 years. Most were looking forward to the traditional mid-summer feast featuring pulpo a la Gallega, a local octopus dish. Instead, many in Galicia were widowed or orphaned and the whole of Spain went into mourning.

Mr Reyes was 60 and about to retire as a schoolteacher, while his wife Rosa worked as a bank clerk. Mr Bustamante worked at the town hall in Cádiz, where all seven originated from, and was well known for helping to organise the southern port city’s annual Easter processions. Ms Márquez and her husband Mr García also worked as teachers.

A former pupil of Ms Márquez and Mr García, who gave his name as Abraham, told state television: “At first I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t get my head round the fact that I won’t see them again. Apart from teachers, they were friends. We used to stop and chat on the street.”

Also on the published list of 67 victims – investigators have yet to confirm the identity of another 13 – was Tomás López Brión, 22, who played as a midfielder for the nearby second division football team Deportivo La Coruña. He had been to pre-season training on Wednesday and boarded the train to be with his family.

Elsewhere a Red Cross volunteer, Edwin Ynoa, got the shock of his life when he learned that among the victims of the crash he was seeking to help was his aunt, Rosalina Ynoa, who had flown over from the Dominican Republic and taken the train to pay him a surprise visit.

For many families who spent Thursday sitting in a support centre set up in a grim business park, the waiting just added to their grief. Many had traipsed between a make-shift morgue set up in a sports centre, Santiago’s main hospital, and government offices to see if missing relatives were dead or merely injured.

Three cousins of Manuel Suárez Rosende, a travelling salesman, waiting outside the Cersia building, were resigned to the worst, even though officials had not been able to confirm his fate. “He went to Madrid on Monday on business, as ever. He usually went by road or plane, but this time he said, ‘I’ll get the train’,” one of the relatives told journalists.

The death toll could still climb, because 32 of the 87 people admitted to hospital are in critical condition.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine