Crash driver: 'I want to die'
Witnesses say train was travelling at 190kmh before accidentTrain driver Francisco Jose Garzon (centre) is helped by two men in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Reuters
The driver of the train that derailed in Galicia on Wednesday night, killing 78 people, is reported to have said in the aftermath of the disaster that he wanted to end his life.
"I've f***ed up, I want to die," he apparently told rescue workers as they pulled bodies from the wreckage that littered the track.
Police yesterday formally detained Francisco Jose Garzon and also took possession of the train's black box recorder as they attempt to establish the cause of the crash.
The train was travelling significantly faster than the 80kmh limit on the curved section of the track, and one witness said yesterday that a monitor inside one of the carriages suggested it had hit 190kph just seconds before disaster struck.
Mr Garzon (52) has been in hospital since the crash under police guard, although his injuries are minor.
The investigating judge was too busy to question him on Thursday because he was overwhelmed with identifying victims.
Under Spanish law, the judge, from the Third District Court in Santiago de Compostela, has to first decide whether there is a case before recommending criminal charges and ordering a full trial, a process that can take months or years.
Police said they had yet to identify six victims and forensics were still seeking additional proof to put names to the rest, while medical officials said 32 people were still critical, including three children.
The investigation will also examine whether automatic warning systems were functioning.
According to the 'El Pais' newspaper, an alarm on the driver's control warned him that he needed to slow down.
One of Mr Garzon's colleagues jumped to his defence yesterday after reports emerged of photos he had posted on Facebook apparently driving a train at 200kmh.
Francisco Cardenas said Mr Garzon had worked on slow freight services before his transfer to intercity routes, which in Spain often reach speeds of 250kmh.
"If he was going at 200, it was on a stretch of track designed for 200," Mr Cardenas told state television.