On Tuesday Valencia staged a special gathering to remember the 41 people killed in Spain’s worst ever underground train crash. Officials have said the train derailed on Monday because it was going too fast. They have raised the possibility that the excessive speed may have been due to something happening to the driver, for example a heart attack. On Tuesday night a funeral service for the victims was held at Valencia’s cathedral.
Mourners including some victims’ families were joined by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, along with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and other politicians. The dead included an Argentine, a Paraguayan, a Colombian, a Venezuelan and a Bulgarian.
Yesterday the black box was recovered from the train’s wreckage, and officials now believe the train was travelling at 80 kilometres an hour, twice the speed limit, on a curved part of the track. Valencia’s train drivers’ union, which said earlier it suspected poor maintenance caused the accident, accepted the train had been going too fast as it approached Jesus station.
Cristina Hasan, who is pregnant, was in one of the carriages. In hospital, she told reporters:
“The guy who helped me out asked everyone to keep clear so I could get out first, because I was hurt. When we got to the train doors, the firemen opened them and two policemen carried me out. “
The man who helped out, Alfonso Correas, says he is thankful she is not seriously injured:
“Thank God she’s alive and the baby’s OK. I’m happy, apart from the fact 41 people have died.”