Jumat, 26 Juli 2013

Father of American killed Spain train crash pathetic

Updated 6 30 a.m. ET

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA Spain The father of the American woman killed in Spain's worst train crash in decades Wednesday calls the situation difficult and pathetic and says he's very upset and confused.

Police examining the remains of those killed in the derailment lowered the death count Friday from 80 people in all to 78 and said the count could change as they identify body parts and associate them with others.

Antonio de Amo of Spain's national police says the changes have happened as forensic scientists have matched body parts with each other.

He told reporters Friday that 72 bodies have been identified so far and that six remain to be identified.

Investigators meanwhile have taken possession of the black boxes of the train which hurtled at high speed along a curve then derailed.

Gustavo Angel confirmed to CBS News that his daughter Ana Maria Cordoba 47 of Arlington Va. perished in the crash. He said he was told of her death by authorities Thursday afternoon.

Angel said Ana Maria was on holiday in Santiago de Compostela for two weeks with her husband and daughter. They were visiting the couple's son an exchange student at a local university.

Ana Maria's husband has skull injuries and her daughter has a broken leg and both are hospitalized Angel said adding that the son wasn't on the train.

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By all accounts the train was going way too fast as it curled around a gentle bend. Then in an instant one car tumbled off the track followed by the rest of the locomotive which seemed to come apart like a zipper being pulled.

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Watch Surveillance footage of Spain train crash

The derailment sent pieces of the sleek train plowing across the ground in a ghastly jumble of smashed metal dirt and smoke.

And a day the disaster which also injured scores of other people one question surpassed all others Why was the train going so fast

Investigators opened a probe Thursday into possible failings by the 52 year old driver and the train's internal speed regulation systems.

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Raw Aftermath footage from train accident in Spain

Experts said one or both must be at fault for the disastrous Wednesday night crash of the train that was carrying 218 passengers and five crew members to Santiago de Compostela a destination of Catholic pilgrimage preparing to celebrate its most revered saint.

Instead this stunned city of nearly 100 000 converted its sports arena into a shelter for the dead and grieving.

Many aboard the train were Catholic pilgrims heading for Santiago de Compostela's internationally celebrated annual festival honoring St. James a disciple of Jesus whose remains are said to rest in a church shrine. Since the Middle Ages the city has been the destination for Christian faithful walking the mountainous El Camino de Santiago trail or The Way of St. James.

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Deadly Spain train wreck What caused it

Santiago officials canceled Thursday's festivities and took control of the city's indoor basketball arena to use as a makeshift morgue. There relatives of the dead could be seen sobbing and embracing each other.

Michael Donahue director of communications of the Diocese of Arlington Va. where the Cordobas are members called it an incredibly sad day.

He told CBS Washington D.C. affiliate WUSA TV (Ana Maria's) son Santiago had just completed the pilgrimage. It can take sometimes many days and it can be arduous. And Ana Maria and her husband and daughter were traveling to meet up with him to celebrate the Feast day and his completion of the pilgrimage.

I'm sure they were looking forward to it. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been for their son you know waiting for them to arrive and to hear the news of this terrible tragedy. And for the Christian community across Spain and all over the world it's just a horrible story. It's just brought home close to us because of Ana Maria's death.

24 Photos

Deadly Spanish train derailment

Spain's head of state King Juan Carlos said All Spaniards feel the pain of the families as he and Queen Sofia met hospitalized survivors of the crash 2 and a half miles south of Santiago de Compostela. The royal couple dressed in funereal black.

For a native of Santiago like me this is the saddest day said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who toured the crash scene and declared a national three day mourning period.

The regional government of Galicia in northwest Spain said 94 people remained hospitalized 31 of them in critical condition including four children.

The U.S. State Department said that in addition to Cordoba at least five Americans were hurt and cautioned that those figures could be revised upward.

Many victims suffered severe burns as the train's diesel fuel ignited a fire that caught some passengers trapped in mangled upside down carriages. Emergency officials took DNA samples from the most heavily burned or the unconscious in an effort to identify both the living and the dead.

Rafael Catala a senior transport official in Spain's Development Ministry told radio network Cadena SER that the train appeared to be going much faster than the track's speed limit of 50 mph as it approached the city.

Breathtaking footage of the crash captured by a railway security camera showed the moment when the eight carriage train approached a left bend beneath a road bridge at a seemingly impossible speed.

An Associated Press analysis of the video indicated the train hit the bend going twice the speed limit or more.

Using the time stamp of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons the AP calculated that the train was moving in a range of 89 to 119 mph. Another estimate calculated on the basis of the typical distance between railroad ties indicated its speed was between 96 and 112 mph).

The anonymously posted video footage which the Spanish railway authority Adif said probably came from one of its cameras shows the train carriages buckling and leaving the tracks soon into the turn.

Relatives of the victims involved in a train accident react at a victims information point in Santiago de Compostela Spain July 25 2013.

/ AP Photo

Murray Hughes consultant editor of Railway Gazette International said a diesel powered unit behind the lead locomotive appeared to derail first. The front engine quickly followed violently tipping on to its right side as it crashed into a concrete wall and bulldozed along the ground.

In the background the rear carriages could be seen starting to decouple and coming off the tracks. The picture went blank as the engine appeared to crash directly into the camera.

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