Safety officials charged over train crash in Spain

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Safety officials charged over train crash in Spain

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Safety officials in charge of the section of railway where a train accident killed 79 people in Spain were charged by the court on Tuesday.

Investigating judge Luis Alaez accused safety officials from ADIF, a state-owned company responsible for managing and building rail lines, saying the causes of the accident could be connected with the lack of basic safety precautions.

The main cause of the accident was the train’s excessive speed, the judge wrote in court documents.

Alaez, who is leading a pre-trial investigation of the crash, said those responsible for safety should have foreseen that human errors, caused by fatigue or habit, could pose a risk on what was known to be a difficult curve.

Given the lack of adequate automatic braking systems that could work on that stretch of rail, safety officials should have taken better preventative measures, including brake signs further away from the bend, the judge said.

ADIF said it had not yet received an official request from the judge and did not know how many employees might be placed under investigation.

ADIF is collaborating and will collaborate with the judge,” its spokesman said.

The train derailed and slammed into a concrete wall on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela on July 24, after approaching a curve at more than twice the speed limit on that piece of the track.

Driver Francisco Garzon, 52, has been charged with negligent homicide and released without bail pending trial.