Santiago de Compostela (Spain): Francisco Jose Garzon, the driver of the high-speed train involved in a derailment that killed 79 people last week, told investigating Judge Luis Alaez that he lost track of his position and did not know where he was on the evening the accident occurred, sources told EFE. Garzon, who has been charged with 79 counts of homicide and numerous other crimes, admitted that he was going at double the 80 kph speed limit on the curve in A Grandeira.
The driver told investigators that he “managed to” hit the brakes but it was too late.
Garzon acknowledged in his testimony Sunday that the accident was not caused by mechanical problems or the condition of the train, and he blamed “human error” for the deadly derailment.
The death toll rose to 79 Sunday, when an American woman passed away at a hospital.
Citizens of Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Italy, France, Algeria and the US were among those killed in the accident.
The high-speed passenger train went off the tracks Wednesday along the route linking Madrid and the Atlantic coastal city of Ferrol.
The train involved in the accident entered service in 2012 and can go up to 250 kph on international rail networks and 220 kph on the Spanish high-speed rail system.
The signals on the stretch where the accident occurred were operating properly at the time of the derailment and the train had been inspected earlier in the day Wednesday, Spanish railway operator Adif said.
The 52-year-old Garzon was released from the hospital Saturday after being treated for his injuries. (IANS)