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Jeers and scuffles as trial of 2013 Spanish train disaster that killed 80 begins

The Spanish train driver was accused of causing the accident that resulted in the deaths of 80 people. A protester kicked one defendant outside the courtroom on Wednesday, 5 October.

In the worst rail accident in decades, another 145 people were also hurt. The train Alvia 04155, which had eight carriages and was high-speed, was spun off the track in northern Spain near Santiago de Compostela. The train crashed into a concrete wall and burst into flames.

The Rail Accident Investigation Commission, which is part of Transport Ministry, concluded that Francisco Jose Garzon had been speeding on the scene and was distracted when he received a call from a superior.

One of the two victims’ organizations is the Association of Victims of Alvia 04155. They also blame the railway security system for their mistakes.


Garzon’s lawyer stated to reporters on Wednesday that safety issues were present on the railway. Adif’s former head of traffic safety, Andres Cortabitarte, did not comment on this matter. He told a 2018 parliamentary committee that he was not responsible for safety on the line.

Kortabitarte received a punch in the back from one of the protesters while he was being taken to the police station by officers. The grieving families of accident victims also made fun of him.

Television footage showed the aggressor being removed from Santiago de Compostela’s Galicia courtroom in Spain’s northwest by a policeman.


Both defendants are facing four years in prison and their professions being disqualified. There are 80 counts of gross professional negligence, 145 injuries and one count each of damages.

Madrid was the scene of a protest by members of the association earlier in this week to support justice.

“There are many people who have passed away, but they are not here anymore. They will never see justice,” Jesus Dominguez (a spokesperson for TVE), stated Wednesday, just before the trial began.

The proceedings will take place at Santiago de Compostela’s cultural center. Over 700 experts and witnesses are expected to testify.

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