Driver in Spanish Rail Crash Admits Speeding in New Recording

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A recording has emerged in the Spanish media of a phone call made by the driver of a train that derailed in northern Spain, killing 79 people, in which the driver is heard telling a colleague that he was traveling at 190km/h (118 mph) instead of 80km/h and became distracted, reports the Independent.

In the audio, which was recorded shortly after the crash, the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, says: “It’s because I got distracted and I had to be going at 80 but I was going at 190, something like that. I had already mentioned this to the safety people, that this (curve) was dangerous, that we would get distracted one day and that would be it.”

During the conversation, Garzon repeatedly says “poor passengers”, adding: “I hope no one has died”, reports the BBC.

The accident, which happened during the evening of July 24 near the city of Santiago de Compostela, is one of the worst rail disasters in Spanish history. All eight carriages of the train careered off the tracks into a concrete wall as they sped around the curve, and in addition to the 79 fatalities some 170 people were wounded, says the BBC.

The driver and the state-owned railway firm Renfe are currently awaiting trial over the crash. Garzon, who is not in jail but remains under court supervision, has been charged with “79 counts of homicide and numerous offences of bodily harm committed through professional recklessness”, the BBC reports.