Yesterday at 8:42pm, a high speed train crashed in Galicia, Spain, killing 78 and injuring 140, 30 of them in critical condition. As the CCTV video capture shows, the train was traveling way too fast—according to the train engineer, as fast as 118mph (190km/h) more than two times the speed allowed in that track segment.
The shocked train engineer couldn't really believe what happened after the crash: "I derailed. What would I do? What would I do?" he kept repeating "We are all human. I hope there are no dead people." Authorities don't know if the actual cause of the accident is a human or technical error. The 52-year-old engineer—who has been working in the same train company during 30 years and had one year of experience in this route—is now under custody of Spanish police.
According to Spanish newspaper El País, the engineer was shouting to main control over the radio, claiming that the train was running at 118mph (190km/h) moments before the crash. Then he said it was running at 124mph (200km/h) and finally, just before taking the curve, he screamed "I'm going at 190km/h!"
Safety system failure?
This segment of the Madrid-Ferrol Alvia high speed train tracks is not integrated in the European Rail Traffic Management System, an electronic network that automatically regulates the speed of trains across the old continent depending on their location. RENFE—the main Spanish train company that operates the Alvia train and the rest of the country's high speed trains—claims that the track had another speed control system in place. The syndicate of train engineers believes that the accident could have been avoided with the use of the "safer" ERTMS.
The authorities are now looking for the black box of the train—called teloc—which will may give them information about what exactly happened.