July 25, 2013

Planned as a smooth ride from Madrid to Ferrol in the northwest Spain, but became a nightmare for more than 200 people onboard the doomed train. On Thursday, Spanish authorities reported about, 80 people lost their lives when the Renfe train transporting them derailed before reaching its destination. 73 people died instantly on the scene, while seven others died in the hospital according to Spanish news reports. As of Thursday, more than 20 of the passengers remained in critical condition, while many suffered wounds that need emergency surgery.

According to Renfe officials, the train crashed on a curve some kilometers in the City of Santiago de Compostela. Based on reports coming out, the train driver survived the crash and until Spanish investigators question him, it could be difficult to find what actually led to the tragic crash. However, early news show the train was travelling at double the required speed limit. Based on the design, it is able to go up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), making some to believe the high-speed probably, contributed to its demise. Also, information retrieved from the recorder indicates the train driver, made incriminating comments blaming himself for the crash.

Last night, Seville, the most populated Southern Spain city was somber as people mourn victims of the crash. All over Spain the atmosphere couldn’t be clearer. People wonder what caused the worst train accident in Spain, since the subway attacks in Madrid that killed many in 2004. Initially, authorities suspected terrorism but rescinded after it became clear it was an unfortunate accident.

According to residents living near the tracks, there was an explosion when the train crashed. Many rushed to the scene carrying blankets and water to help the injured, and based on eyewitnesses, bodies of some of the victims lay on the ground as emergency team try to rescue those still trapped in the wreckage.

Images of the scene shown on Spanish TV channel 1 and other news outlets in the country show mangled train cars and smoke coming out of the wreckage and site of the crash. Firefighters, Police and Psychologists, appeared at the scene, helping survivals. Later in the day, the Galicia government responsible for the area covering the site, requested for blood donations to help those hospitalized.

In Spain like other European nations, mid July to August, is the time most Spaniards go on vacation. Though, some offices especially government establishments stay open, many private sector businesses and other activities are closed to allow workers vacation time, a reason most of the passengers on the train were vacationers on their way to the beach.

Ferrol is a city in the province of Coruna in Galicia, on the Atlantic coast in northwestern Spain. Ferrol climate is humid-oceanic characterized by yearlong mild temperature, rainy winters and dry summer that attracts tourists and Spaniards to its beaches. Unlike other parts of Spain, it has a cooler temperature in the summer and those willing to avoid the burning summer sun, find refuge at its beaches, namely, Doninos, Esmelle and St George.

While investigation continues to find what caused the fatal crash, the speculation is the train drivers were probably under pressure to reach the destination on time. Usually, when such trains run late, passengers have legal right to get their money back, which is likely why the train travelled double the speed limit. July 25 is St James day in Spain and some of the victims were on their way to the pilgrimage of St James in Santiago, a reason for the high casualty and why many took the train to Ferrol, which serves as the best line to Santiago.

Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of  ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at Follow on Twitter @san0670.

Categories: Current Affair

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