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Driver 'had joked about speeding'

One of the drivers of a Spanish train which derailed killing at least 80 people allegedly joked on Facebook on a previous occasion about speeding past police, according to reports.

With the official death toll still rising and more than 30 passengers including children in a critical condition following the crash near the north-western city of Santiago de Compostela, it is the country's deadliest rail disaster in almost 70 years.

Early investigations into the crash have suggested the train was travelling at 118mph - more than twice the speed limit - when it derailed heading into a sharp curve.

One Briton has been confirmed by the Foreign Office to be among the total of 168 injured passengers, with a full list of those who died expected to be made public at 10pm local time.

As the country mourned, Spanish media named one of the train's drivers as Francisco Jose Garzon Amo and reported boasts he allegedly posted on Facebook about how fast he was driving a train in 2012.

The 52-year-old, who together with a second driver survived the crash and is being treated in hospital for minor injuries, is now reportedly under investigation. Mr Garzon Amo is not believed to be under arrest but is expected to give evidence to a judge with access to the train's data recording "black box".

He allegedly posted a picture of a train speedometer at 124mph. His Facebook page has now been blocked.

"What a blast it would be to go parallel with the Guardia Civil (Spanish police) and go past them triggering the radar. Haha what a fine for Renfe (the Spanish train operator) haha," he allegedly wrote in March 2012.

According to reports, one of the two drivers at the helm of the train realised what was about to happen before the crash and made a desperate call to Renfe ahead of taking the bend, saying: "I'm going at 190kmh, I'm going to derail."

In a second call to Renfe after the accident, he explained that he was trapped in the train's loco. "We are human, we are human," he is reported to have said. "I hope there are no dead because they would fall on my conscience."


From Belfast Telegraph