U.S. Citizen among Victims of Harrowing Spanish Train Accident

As the death toll from the deadly train crash in Santiago de Compostela, Spain approaches 80 people, American Myrta Fariza has been identified as the latest victim to perish as a result of this devastating accident. Fariza, who was accompanied on the train by her surviving husband, spent several days in critical condition before succumbing to her injuries, which included severe head trauma. While Fariza remained conscious and fought valiantly for several days, she eventually could no longer hang on.

Speed's role in deadly crash

While everyone's hearts go out to the loved ones of those who did not survive, much of the attention at this point is focused on the train's driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Garzon is reported to have mentioned the excessive speed at which the train was traveling and his resultant inability to brake as the train pulled into a curve. The eight-car train, which carried 218 passengers, flew off the tracks and collided with a concrete wall.

According to the Spanish rail agency, the brakes should have been applied 2.5 miles before the train entered the curve. As a result of the crash, Garzon is being held by police on suspicion of negligent homicide. An investigation is ongoing, which will include an examination of the contents of information from the train's "black box," which records activity in the conductor's compartment.

Rail travel safety

Despite the horrific images from the Spain crash, many maintain that rail travel is extremely safe on the whole. Experts such as Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council's Yonah Freemark offer the following reasons for this assessment:

  • The National Safety Council reports that for every mile traveled, those in cars at least 10 times more likely to be killed in accidents than rail passengers in train accidents
  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that over the course of 10 years nearly 900,000 people died in highway crashes while fewer than 15,000 perished in train collisions

When accidents do occur, the time has come to speak to personal injury attorneys with specific experience in railway collisions and calamities.

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