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July 25, 2013

Investigation Opened into Conductor of Derailed Spanish Train

As you can imagine. Of the 247 passengers, 78 were killed.

The impact was so huge one carriage flew several meters into the air and landed on the other side of the high concrete barrier.

"We heard a massive noise and we went down the tracks. I helped get a few injured and bodies out of the train. I went into one of the cars but I'd rather not tell you what I saw there," Ricardo Martinez, a 47-year old baker from Santiago de Compostela, told Reuters.

The train driver was under formal police investigation, a spokeswoman for Galicia's Supreme Court told Reuters, without naming him. The train had two drivers and one was in hospital, the Galicia government said.

The driver took the sharp turn at a very high rate of speed-- 120mph. The speed limit was 80mph (which itself seems pretty fast). I don't see how anyone could blow through this turn at 120mph thinking he'd somehow stay on the tracks.

I think the drivers may have survived because there was nothing to slow the engine from skidding along the track on its side; they wouldn't have gotten the massively fast stoppage that could kill a man. But the cars behind them, the ones whose momentum was blocked by overturned cars, would have gotten the worst of it, the sudden stop that's little different than falling from 70 feet (or whatever the math works out to).

I'm really linking that as an excuse to relink the video of the derailment that @benk84 linked in the headlines. It's incredible, awful. It's not gory in the tape itself, as you see no human beings, but it's terrible in the imagination, as you can visualize in your mind what a crash of this speed could do to a human body.


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posted by Ace at 01:19 PM

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