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Train carriage removed in Spain as driver is investigated (with video)

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Train carriage removed in Spain as driver is investigated (with video)
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SPAIN -- As train carriages are removed, police put the driver of a Spanish train under investigation on Thursday after at least 78 people died when it hit a sharp bend at speed and derailed near the northern city of Santiago de Compostela, in one of Europe's worst rail disasters.


Dramatic video footage from a security camera outside the northwestern city showed the train, with 247 people on board, careering into a wall at the side of the track as carriages jack-knifed and the engine overturned.

The Galicia government said the train had two drivers and one was in hospital but it was not immediately clear which driver was under investigation.

The train driver had been sedated, said Juan Jesus Garcia, the secretary general of the Renfe train drivers union, adding he hoped to visit him on Thursday.

He had been operating trains in the area for three years, Garcia said.

Newspaper reports cited witnesses as saying driver Francisco Jose Garzon,who helped rescue victims, had shouted: "I've derailed! What do I do?" into a phone.

El Pais said one of the drivers was trapped in his cabin and told the railway station by radio that the train entered the bend at 190 kilometers per hour (120 mph).

The disaster happened on the eve of a major religious festival in the ancient northwestern city at 8.41 p.m. (1841 GMT) on Wednesday. Officials said several nationalities were among the 130 injured, of whom 36 including four children, were in serious condition.

Galicia resident Lesly Fernandez went to the scene on Thursday to see the damage after being told about the crash while waiting for celebrations on Wednesday evening.

Cranes were still pulling out mangled debris on Thursday morning, 12 hours after the crash. Emergency workers had stopped their search for survivors, the court spokeswoman said.