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Train crash driver video released

The driver of the train that derailed in north-western Spain, killing 79 people, has said he was travelling at twice the speed limit when he approached a treacherous bend.

But, sitting uneasily before a judge, he waved his hands in front of his face and was at a loss to explain why he did not slow down in a courtroom video released by a Spanish newspaper.

"I can't explain it," Francisco Jose Garzon Amo said, shifting in his chair and looking around. "I still don't understand how I didn't see... mentally, or whatever. I just don't know."

The journey was "going fine" until the bend was upon him, he said. When the danger became clear, he thought: "Oh my God, the curve, the curve, the curve. I won't make it."

The edited video of his appearance at Sunday night's court session in Santiago de Compostela, where the accident happened last week, was released by Spain's ABC newspaper. Two court officials said the video appeared authentic.

In it, Garzon, a slightly-built 52-year-old with short-cropped grey hair and glasses, appears shaken and at times hesitant. He sits in a simple chair in front of the judge, with four rows of chairs behind him in the small courtroom.

He is wearing a dark jacket and trousers with an open-necked shirt. Behind him are two men in dark uniforms, and several other unidentified people are in the room. He also answers questions from a prosecutor.

His testimony added little new to what is already known about the crash on the evening of June 24 as the high-speed train, carrying 218 people in eight carriages, approached the capital of Spain's north-western Galician region. But the video was the public's first look at the court testimony of the driver who walked away from the accident with a gash in his head.

ABC said its footage showed 18 minutes of excerpts from the full 55-minute session, accompanied by what it said was a transcript of the full session. The paper said it obtained a copy of the video that the court took of the session but has not made public.

The train had been going as fast as 119mph (192kph) shortly before the derailment. The driver activated the brakes "seconds before the crash", reducing the speed to 95mph (153kph), according to the court's preliminary findings based on black box data recorders. The speed limit on the section of track where the crash happened was 50mph (80kph).


From Belfast Telegraph