The horrific train accident that occurred in Spain on July 24th has resulted in at least eighty deaths at this time. The accident occurred when the eight-carriage train derailed and hit a wall as it came off the tracks, and became engulfed in flames. As of this morning, the driver of the train is under investigation and is in police custody at this time.
According to Reuters, there is video footage of the train crash, which shows the train derailing and slamming into the concrete wall where it left the tracks. The train is also shown jack knifing and the engine flipping over. The train hit the wall so hard and so fast that it caused one of the carriages to fly high into the air and over a large concrete barrier. At this time it appears that the driver was speeding well over the highest allowable speed for the train, and that his excessive speed was likely at least part of the reason for the fatal accident. The train was reportedly traveling at around 120 miles per hour at the time of the crash, which was over double the allowable high speed limit for that particular curve on the track. While this appears to be a cause of the accident, Spanish police have not yet formally arrested the driver in connection with the accident. In addition to why the driver was traveling at such high speeds, police and investigators are trying to determine why certain mechanical safety devices did not stop the train from being able to go so fast. While more about this accident will likely emerge over the next few weeks and continue to emerge over time, it does appear that the excessive speed was the cause of the derailment as well as the reason the accident was so severe.
The driver was staying at a local hospital under police watch, however it is not currently known how severe his personal injuries may be. The driver was not a new driver and had actually been a train driver for thirty years.
The train was traveling with 247 people on board, and in addition to those who suffered fatal injuries in the crash, around ninety-four other people suffered injuries. Of the ninety-four injured, thirty-five people were listed in critical condition at this time (four of those reported to be children). Of those killed on board, one was a United States citizen. Five other United States citizens were also among those suffering injuries.
Many bystanders or people that heard the crash rushed out to do whatever they could to help those injured. Many people that saw the scene stated that it was horrible to see and that there were bodies strewn along the tracks and many people trapped inside the train, which was on fire. Local firefighters had been on strike at the time of the accident but came back to work to help with this horrific accident. Additionally, local hospital workers who were working on reduced salaries due to recent budget cuts, worked overtime to help the victims of this tragic train accident.