Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Spanish Train Tragedy 15

The train driver is reported to have been charged with manslaughter, which appears to be a step up from the original charge of culpable recklessness. He is due to go before the investigative judge today. I don't know whether the concept of sub judice exists in Spain but, even if it does, I imagine we'll all know by this evening what has been said to and by him.

A Spanish reader has commented: "Indeed it will be difficult to know the whole truth about what happened, as on other occasions. The official version is likely to be adapted to economic interests. In the interests of Brand Spain and the sale of our rail systems abroad, they are interested in attributing the responsibility to human error. Families believe there was a system failure but politicians want everything to stay confusing so that attention is not focused on them and they can escape. And we Spanish . . . Well, we are learning about the ASFA and ERTMS systems and we distrust everyone and everything. Everyone will believe what suits them.

Another reader advises that it's reported that the black box confirms the train was doing 190kph when it hit the curve. However, I've yet to see any reference to black box data in the Spanish press and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondering why it's taking so long. Perhaps we will know by the end of the day as it's hard to believe the judge isn't going to demand it.

As regards the huge contract at stake for the Brazilian high-speed train system, nothing is being said publicly about this but it's reported that senior executives of the Spanish consortium are privately admitting it's been lost to Spain as a result of the accident. Even though it's arguable that the accident was nothing to do with a high-speed as neither the train nor the track was part of the Spanish AVE system. The problem is that this is a technical argument and one not easily taken on board by the Spanish public. Still less the Brazilian public, I suspect.

Finally . . . There was a interview with a despondent local resident who'd tried to help and had had problems with a policeman. This ended with the man issuing a heartfelt "Joder!", or 'Fuck!'. The English subtitles on British TV had something anodyne like"Dear me."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You say "I've yet to see any reference to black box data in the Spanish press and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondering why it's taking so long."

Here it is

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/santiago/2013/07/24/maquinista-tren-descarrilado-santiago-reconoce-iba-190-hora/00031374692270721158120.htm

Q1-10

Colin said...

Thanks for that. I see, though, the dateline is the day of the accident (24) and this is the only later ref I can find in El Pais
http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/07/25/galicia/1374747985_947595.html

It confirms the black box will be vital to understanding how the accident happens but, makes no reference to alleged confessional statements of the driver.

And here's the latest El Mundo ref. to the black box, again making no claims about what it has told us already and implying we have to wait for its opening/analysis.

Can't help feeling the VdG jumped the gun.

Cheers.

Colin said...

And here's El Mundo, saying yesterday that the box was still sealed and nothing known of its contents.

Otro dato fundamental en el atestado será el análisis de la caja negra del tren, que fue recogida del lugar del accidente a lo largo de la madrugada del miércoles al jueves y se encuentra en este momento bajo tutela de la Policía Judicial.

Todavía no ha podido salir a la luz ningún contenido de lo registrado en esa caja negra, pues está "cerrada". Su apertura es compleja porque tiene "condiciones técnicas singulares" y el juez todavía no ha ordenado empezar su análisis porque hasta el momento la prioridad de la investigación está siendo la identificación de las víctimas.

The reason given for not opening it seems a little odd to me. Both things could be done at the same time.

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