SPAIN'S highest contentious court has overturned a controversial sentence which found five gang-rapists accused of the lesser offence of 'sexual abuse' after they attacked an 18-year-old woman at Pamplona...
Galicia rail disaster victims demonstrate on fifth anniversary
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Jul 25, 2018
HUNDREDS of relatives of those who died in the Madrid-Ferrol train crash in 2013 and injured survivors gathered in the central square in Angrois, A Coruña province (Galicia) calling for justice and answers.
On the fifth anniversary of the tragedy which claimed 80 lives – July 24 – victims of the ALVIA train which smashed into a wall and overturned at nearly 200 kilometres per hour at 20.41 barely half an hour from its destination are no farther on in their quest to find out what happened and who should be held accountable.
The only person to have been investigated was the train driver, Francisco Garzón del Amo, who said the bend the crash happened on was 'a tragedy foretold'.
Five kilometres before the A Grandeira curve, the high-speed long-distance AVE line, which shifts at 220 kilometres per hour, switched to the slower regional line, where the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour.
Insufficient warning meant Garzón del Amo braked too late and hit the bend at 196 kilometres per hour.
He had been on his work mobile phone at the time because his superior had called him to give him instructions.
Cost-cutting when the track was built meant it was not fitted with the more modern Euroipean-standard braking system, which automatically pulls the train back when the line switches from the high-speed to the regional route.
But non-independent government surveyors point the blame entirely at Garzón del Amo – even though the victims do not consider him guilty.
Survivors and grieving friends and relatives want former public works ministers José Blanco and Ana Pastor, and the bosses of rail board RENFE and rail infrastructure group ADIF, to answer for their errors in designing the track.
Valencia's deputy regional president Mònica Oltra has criticised how the Angrois crash victims have been 'kept in the dark' in the same way as those of the devastating Valencia metro smash in summer 2006.
She recalls that the right-wing PP was in government in the Valencia region at the time of the metro crash and continued there for another nine years, and was in power nationally at the time of the Galicia rail tragedy.
Galicia's regional president Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP) said on the five-year anniversary that the AVE crash 'changed the history' of the far north-western enclave 'forever'.
It is the second-worst rail tragedy in Spain's history and the worst since 1944 when a passenger and a goods train hit each other in a tunnel in Torre del Bierzo (León province), officially leaving 78 dead – the actual figure is believed to be higher, but dictator General Franco's régime is thought to have covered up the true magnitude of the smash.
Protesters marched from the centre of Santiago de Compostela, the nearest station to Angrois where the 2013 disaster happened, through to the central Praça do Obradoiro square carrying banners calling for justice.
They then gathered outside the city's iconic cathedral where the Plataforma de las Víctimas del ALVIA 04155 ('ALVIA 04155 Victims' Association') read a manifesto.
Spokesman for the Association, Jesús Domínguez, said that if it had not been for the victims' ongoing battle and for the European Union calling for an inquiry, the case would have been closed by now.
You may also be interested in ...
More Crime/Incidents content
BRITISH police are concerned about a father and son who have been missing for just over a month after hiring a car in the province of Málaga. Daniel Poole, 46 and his son Liam, 22, travelled to the Costa del Sol on...
THE daughter of a woman who is fighting to prove surrealist painter Salvador Dalí is her late illegitimate father has been found dead on a bench in Girona. As yet, the cause of Elisabeth Martín Abel’s demise is not...
DIANA Quer’s father went to the national Parliament building today (Thursday) to hand-deliver the petition he set up on Change.org calling for permanent but reviewable prison sentences to remain part of Spanish law....