A REQUIEM mass was held in the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela on Monday for the 79 people who died in a high-speed
rail crash on the outskirts of the city on Wednesday of last
The driver, Francisco Garzon, was arrested and charged on
Thursday of last week with multiple counts of negligent homicide,
amid suggestions that the train was going too fast. The train,
travelling from Madrid to Ferrol, was derailed as it emerged from a
tunnel on to a sharp bend in the track. After opening the train's
"black box" recorder on Tuesday, investigators said that Mr Garzon
had been speaking on the phone to a railway official immediately
before the crash.
The Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and Prince Felipe were among
mourners at the service on Monday.
"From the very first moment, the families that have lost their
loved ones have been in our hearts, and the hearts of Galicia and
Spain," the Archbishop of Santiago de Com- postela, the Most Revd
Julián Barrio Barrio, said in his homily. The Archbishop said that
he also held in his prayers the families of a fatal bus crash near
Naples, on Sunday, when 38 people died.
Prince Felipe, his wife, Letizia, the Infanta Elena, Mr Rajoy,
members of the cabinet, and regional leaders stood in the cathedral
alongside many of the victims' families, and members of the
Prayers and condolences from around the world have been sent to
Spain. Pope Francis sent a telegram to Archbishop Barrio Barrio,
expressing his "intense sorrow and his spiritual closeness" to all
those suffering as a result of the crash.
On Friday, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Dr Geoffrey
Rowell, said: "The news of the horrific train crash near Santiago
de Compostela, in which so many were killed and injured, has
shocked all our congregations in Spain and Portugal. . . We commend
to God those who have died, and pray for the be- reaved and
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia visited survivors in hospital
the day after the crash, praising what the King described as the
spirit of citizenship shown by rescue workers and blood donors.
"All Spanish people join in the sorrow of the relatives of the
deceased," he said.