Sunday, 28 July 2013

Memorial service for Spain's train crash victims set for Monday

A spokesman for the local archdiocese has announced that a memorial service for the 78 dead in the train crash will be held at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela on Monday evening. The American victim of the crash has been named.

"We expect the service to take place on Monday at 7:00 pm [1700 GMT] in the cathedral," the spokesman said.

Three days after the crash, 81 people remain in hospital and 31 of these are in a serious condition, after the worst railway accident in Spain since 1944.

Flags have been flying at half-mast countrywide as the people of Spain mourn for the dead.

In Spain, the dead are normally buried one or two days after passing away. Officials confirmed on Friday that funerals were being organized for the victims as quickly as possible. However, their "priority remains attending to the injured, supporting the families and identifying the victims".

While the cause of the accident is still unconfirmed, officials suspect that the train was traveling at twice the speed limit when it jumped the tracks, slamming into a concrete wall. As reported by Digital Journal earlier on Saturday, police have detained the train driver, Francisco José Garzón Amo, on suspicion of reckless homicide.

American victim named:

The American victim has now been named in the media. According to Catholic Church officials from the diocese where she worked, a Virginia woman, 47-year-old Ana María Córdoba, was on her way to visit her son, who had just completed a Catholic pilgrimage, "Way of St. James," known in Spanish as "El Camino de Santiago." This pilgrimage was featured recently in a film, "The Way," starring Martin Sheen.

Córdoba was the only American killed in the crash and she was traveling with her husband Philippe and her daughter, who are both in a stable condition in hospital.

Reportedly there were at least five Americans injured in the train crash. 18-year-old Stephen Ward, a Mormon missionary from Bountiful, Utah told the media that the train lifted off the tracks "like a roller coaster" before smashing into the concrete wall. According to Ward, an information screen for passengers showed the train's speed as 194 kph (121 mph) moments before the crash.

To the source: