x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Spanish train driver was talking on phone at time of crash

The driver of the train that derailed in northern Spain last week, killing 79 people, was talking on the phone with state train operator Renfe at the time of the accident, a court says.

MADRID // The driver of the train that derailed in northern Spain last week, killing 79 people, was talking on the phone with state train operator Renfe at the time of the accident, a court said yesterday after analysing the train's data recording device.

The initial reading of the so-called black box, released by the court investigating the case, also showed the train was travelling at 192km per hour in the minutes before it derailed in a curve where speed is limited at 80km per hour.

The eight-carriage train had slowed to 153km per hour at the time of the crash after a brake was activated seconds before, the black box showed.

Driver Francisco Garzon, 52, was freed from police custody on Sunday pending trial on charges of negligent homicide.