LONDON -- The driver of the train that derailed in northwest Spain, which killed or injured more than 200 people, has been formally detained and will be questioned by authorities, Spanish police said Friday.
Francisco Jose Garzon Amo is in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained in the wreck, said Jaime Iglesias, head of Spain’s National Police in the region of Galicia. Once doctors give the go-ahead, investigators are expected to quiz Garzon Amo about the circumstances surrounding the accident, Iglesias told reporters.
Spain’s Interior Ministry, which had put the death toll at 80, revised that figure downward slightly Friday to 78 as coroner’s officials strove to identify the remains of bodies badly mutilated in Wednesday’s disaster. Several other passengers remain in critical condition, and the number of fatalities could yet rise.
Authorities are eager to hear Garzon Amo’s account of why the train appeared to be traveling at what some passengers described as extremely high speed as it rounded a curve near the town of Santiago de Compostela. Footage from a security camera showed the train hurtling around the bend, then jumping clear of the tracks and smashing into a wall.