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Police to question driver for Spanish train crash

Agencies | Updated: 2013-07-26 11:26

Police to question driver for Spanish train crash

Rescue workers stand amongst the wreckage of a train crash near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 25, 2013. The derailment of the train in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia has killed 80 people and 94 are still injured, the deputy head of the regional government said on Thursday. He also said that among the 94 injured, 35 were in serious condition, including four children. [Photo/Agencies]

Waiting For News

Early on Friday, medical experts were still trying to identify 13 of the bodies, leaving distraught families to wait for definitive news.

Spain's rail safety record is better than the European average, ranking 18th out of 27 countries in terms of railway deaths per km traveled, the European Railway Agency said. There were 218 train accidents in Spain between 2008 and 2011, well below the EU average of 426 for the same period.

The disaster happened at 8:41 pm (2:41 am ET) on the eve of a festival dedicated to St. James, one of Jesus's 12 disciples, whose remains are said to rest in Santiago's centuries-old cathedral.

The apostle's shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages and has had a resurgence in popularity in recent decades.

Even though the festival was canceled, pilgrims and tourists formed long lines to see the cathedral on Thursday.

"It's hard to make sense of a tragedy like this, especially on an occasion that is supposed to be joyous," said Jan Roser, a Catholic priest from Germany who had made the pilgrimage and was in Santiago for the festival.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Galicia, visited the accident site and the main hospital on Thursday. He declared three days of official national mourning.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also visited the injured in hospital.

"All of Spain is united in grief with the bereaved families," the king said.


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