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Spanish witness: Driver says he went too fast

28 July 2013, 15:18

Spain - The driver of a speeding train that derailed in Spain, killing 78 people, said minutes after the crash that he had been going fast and couldn't brake, a local resident who rushed to the scene of the accident said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Evaristo Iglesias told Antena 3 television that he and another person accompanied the blood-soaked Francisco Jose Garzon Amo to a stretch of flat ground where other injured people were being laid out, waiting for emergency services to arrive.

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

"He said he had needed to brake but couldn't," Iglesias said. He added that Garzon said "he had been going fast".

The television channel showed a photograph of Iglesias in a pink shirt and cap helping carry the driver after the Wednesday accident in Santiago De Compostela.

It also aired television footage of Iglesias working beside the wrecked train to help other survivors.

Garzon has been released from the hospital and is in police custody on suspicion of negligent homicide. He is expected to give testimony to an investigating judge later on Sunday, though he exercised his right to remain silent when police tried to interview him.

The judge will also have access to information contained in the train's "black box", which is similar to those found on aircraft.

The train carrying 218 passenger in eight cars blazed far over the speed limit into a high-risk curve, tumbling off the tracks and slamming into a concrete wall, with some of the cars catching fire.

Authorities have pointed to speed as the culprit, and officials have said that the brakes should have been applied 4km before the train hit the curve.

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

Iglesias was among survivors and witnesses who began to give evidence to police on Sunday.

Meanwhile, authorities said forensic experts have identified the last three bodies among the dead. They did not reveal the names of the dead, but said on Sunday that all of the families had been notified.

Mourning continued throughout Spain, with Sunday church services being held in remembrance of the dead.

A large funeral mass is planned for Monday afternoon, and the prime minister and royal family are expected to attend.

- AP


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