Spain train crash: Driver Francisco Garzon 'admits to recklessness' and faces 79 charges of negligent homicide

 

The train driver suspected of causing Spain's worst rail disaster for decades has been freed on jail after admitting to recklessness, it has been reported locally.

Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, was provisionally charged with multiple cases of negligent homicide and was taken to court in Santiago de Compostela for questioning by Judge Luis Alaez, who - during a two-hour period - formally accused him of causing the derailment just outside the city on Wednesday.

His passport has been withdrawn and he was ordered to report to a police station every week.

The Spanish rail agency has said the brakes should have been applied 2.5 miles before the train hit the curve.

Investigators must determine if Garzon Amo failed to apply the brakes or whether it was a technical failure.

Meanwhile, one of the 168 passengers injured in the crash died in a Santiago hospital, taking the death toll to 79.

A large funeral mass in Santiago de Compostela will be held this afternoon, which the Spanish prime minister and members of the royal family are expected to attend.

Officials said 70 people injured in the train accident remained in hospital, 22 in critical condition.

The only Briton injured in the disaster has received treatment in intensive care for a broken pelvis and ribs and has had his spleen removed

Mark Woodward, 38, originally from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was spotted by his stepfather in news reports which showed him being carried from the scene flanked by two people, covered in blood with a ripped shirt.

Robert Spencer told the BBC his stepson lives in the region of Galicia where the crash happened with his Spanish wife and son.

"That was a shocking thing to see," he said.

"Grateful that he was apparently walking OK and alive, but still a shock.

"There was blood all over them, a huge gash on his stomach and his head had been really bashed about."

An official funeral for the dead will be held at Santiago cathedral today at 7pm local time.

Victims include nationals from France, Algeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States, according to reports.

Some 75 of those killed were identified through their fingerprints while additional DNA work was required for another three after the derailment left "Dante-esque" scenes of destruction.

Authorities are in possession of the train's so-called "black box", which is expected to shed further light on the cause of the disaster.

Early indications suggested the train was travelling at around 118mph - more than twice the 50mph speed limit - when it crashed while heading into a curve.

In a television interview broadcast by Antena 3, local resident Evaristo Iglesias told how in the aftermath of the crash the driver had said he was going too fast and that "he had needed to brake but couldn't".

"He told us that he wanted to die," Mr Iglesias said.

In March 2012, Garzon Amo allegedly posted boasts on Facebook about how fast he was driving a train and joked about racing past police.

He is believed to have taken control of the train from a second driver about 65 miles south of Santiago.

Wednesday's train crash is the worst Spain has experienced since a three-train accident in a tunnel in the northern Leon province in 1944.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert