The driver of a Spanish train that came off the tracks on a bend last night, killing at least 77 people in one of Europe’s worst rail crashes, has admitted that it was travelling at more than twice the speed limit
Heading from Madrid to the naval port of El Ferrol, the train derailed and burst into flames at 8.24pm yesterday outside Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern province of Galicia.
Trackside CCTV footage of the crash quickly emerged that showed the train beginning to wobble as it came into the bend before careering off the tracks and smashing into a wall.
The speed limit on that section of the track is 80km/h (50 mph) although a government official claimed that the train had been travelling at 220km/h (137mph).
El País reported, however, that the driver had contacted his base by radio shortly after the crash and told them that he had travelling at 190kph, or even 200km/h going into the bend.
The driver, who has not been named, spoke to colleagues from the wreckage of the train. He told them that he could not move because he had hurt his back and ribs.
“We are human! We are human!” he said, before adding: “I hope there are not deaths because it would weigh on my conscience.”
The site of the crash — at the end of a very long straight — is not included in the European Rail Traffic Management System programme, which automatically stops trains from going too fast.