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Spain train crash: driver charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide

07-29-2013 17:57 BJT

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The driver of a Spanish high-speed train that derailed has been charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide and released on bail after being questioned by a judge.

Francisco Garzon, 52, had been under arrest since Thursday. He is suspected of driving the train too fast through a tight curve on the outskirts of the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

Examining Magistrate Luis Alaez formally charged Mr. Garzon with “79 counts of homicide and numerous offences of bodily harm, all of them committed through professional recklessness,” the court said in a statement.

During the hearing Garzon Amo admitted taking the corner too fast, blaming it on a momentary lapse, according to media reports.

Garzon Amo was ordered to report to court every week, forbidden from leaving Spain and banned from driving trains for six months.

The death toll from what is Spain's worst train disaster in decades rose to 79 when one injured person died on Sunday.

Seventy people remain in hospital with injuries from the crash; 22 are in critical condition.

Mr. Garzon has worked for Renfe for 30 years, 10 as a driver. After the accident he was hospitalized with a head injury. On Saturday he was released from the hospital but remained in police custody until he was taken to the hearing at Santiago de Compostela’s main courthouse.

The Alvia train involved in the accident, one of three types of high-speed train services that run in Spain, received a full maintenance check on the morning of the journey, the head of Renfe said, and security systems were in good shape.

After the accident Garzon Amo spoke to both the train system control centre and emergency dispatchers. Spanish newspapers have reported that transcripts of those communications show he recognised he was going too fast.

At the section of the track where the accident happened, it was up to the driver to respond to prompts to slow down.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters Saturday there are "rational indications" that the accident was the fault of the driver. Pressed on what those are, he declined to provide details.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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