Just last week, Spain was rocked hard when a train operated by the state-owned railway company Renfe derailed. Ever since, investigators have been working hard to determine just what caused this train derailment. The main thing that they want to know is if this derailment was caused by a mechanical malfunction or if it was the result of human error. Things took a bad turn for the driver of the train after the investigators found out that he was on his cellphone at the time of the crash.
Investigators have learned that the train derailed when it was travelling too fast going into a curve. Despite the fact that the curve had a speed limit of around 49 mph, the train was moving at close to 119 mph. This was the information that the investigation team gave to the Court of Justice of Galicia.
The investigation team was able to learn all of this information after they opened the black box data recorder from the train. This was gave them a lot of insight as to why the train derailed and killed 79 people. They came to find out that the driver was talking on his phone during the accident and was likely not paying attention. He must have noticed what was going on too late because the black-box did show that the brakes were applied just before the accident. Since he applied the brakes so late, he was unable to slow the train down to a safe speed. Had he not been on his phone, he might not have been so distracted.
The court statement said that the driver received a phone call on his work phone only minutes prior to the train derailment. During this time he was getting information on the route that he would have to use to get to Ferrol. Judging from the conversation and the background noise, it sounds as if the driver was consulting a map or some kind of paper document during the phone call. This must have distracted him enough that he was not able to focus on his job.
Due to this new information, the driver of the train is under suspicion of reckless homicide. However, at the time of this writing, the driver had yet to be officially charged with anything. His release came on Sunday in Santiago de Compostela, which is the area where the crash took place, but he currently remains under the supervision of the court.
Some are scared that the driver of the train might try to commit suicide after his actions. In fact, one witness said that they could hear the driver say when he was arriving at the courthouse that he wanted to die after the crash. On top of this, when the driver was still in the train after the crash, he was reportedly heard asking if anyone died. He said that he would not be able to forgive himself if someone died because of his mistake.
The driver will now have to appear in court once a week until the case is over. He is not permitted to leave Spain without getting approval from the court, which he is unlikely to receive.