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A train driver suspected of causing Spain's worst rail disaster for decades has been charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide and freed on bail.
Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, 52, was taken to court on Sunday night and formally accused by an investigating judge of causing Wednesday's derailment just outside the city of Santiago de Compostela.
Meanwhile, one of the 168 passengers injured in the crash died in a Santiago hospital today, taking the death toll to 79.
Charged: train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo is helped by two men after the accident. Photo: AP
Garzon Amo arrived at court wearing handcuffs after 72 hours in police custody, during which he refused to answer officers' questions.
According to Spanish media, investigating judge Luis Alaez quizzed the 30-year employee of Spanish rail operator Renfe for an hour before releasing him with charges.
His passport has been withdrawn and he will have to report to a police station every week, reports said.
Victims are helped by rescue workers after the deadly train crash. Photo: Reuters
Officials said 70 people injured in the train accident remain in hospital, 22 in critical condition.
An official funeral for the dead will be held at Santiago cathedral on Monday.
Authorities are in possession of the train's so-called "black box", which is expected to shed further light on the cause of the disaster.
The Alvia model train derailing four kilometres from Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Photo: AFP
Early indications suggested the train was travelling at more than twice the speed limit when it crashed while heading into a curve.
In a television interview broadcast by Antena 3, local resident Evaristo Iglesias told how in the aftermath of the crash the driver had said he was going too fast and that "he had needed to brake but couldn't".
"He told us that he wanted to die," Iglesias said.
Gonzalo Ferre, president of rail infrastructure company Adif, said the driver should have started slowing the train four kilometres before reaching a dangerous bend that train drivers had been told to respect
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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