Alfia victims: “measures had to be taken to avoid leaving all responsibility in the hands of a human being”

Concentration of relatives of the deceased and survivors of the Alfia accident in Santiago de Compostela in 2019.Oscar Coral

“Justice is the only balm that can allow us to go on with life,” says Pilar Vera, president of the Spaniard Victims’ Association (2008, 154 dead, 18 injured) in the documentary. Frankenstein 04155 On the Alfea catastrophe: “A country that does not admit its mistakes is a country doomed to repeat them.” Five years after its premiere, Aitor Ray’s award-winning film is still not broadcast on TVE, as families devastated by the railway disaster claim the tenth anniversary of the event. Train tragedy that on July 24, 2013 it derailed at the gates of Santiago, killing 80 and injuring 145. Ten years of waiting and 10 months on trial And they will decide next week by agreeing to issue sentences, with an almost unanimous feeling between the popular and private accusations that there are two things that have been proven in the overall process: that the error was not the only driver, and that there is a so-called “curve agreement”, a plot by “state authorities” to “cover up the truth” about the absence of protection measures on the line. The Public Prosecutor’s Office withdrew at the last moment its indictment against Adif traffic safety director Andres Kurtapetart at the time of the accident.

And not only the train drivers, but also the independent experts and EU expert witness, Christopher Carr, defended during the trial that the express track, in the last eight kilometers before Santiago station, the accident section, opened completely devoid of security measures against possible “human error”. Implemented at the time when the government was changed, from PSOE to PP and From José Blanco to Ana Pastor development ministers. Although all the way through – Coruña Court up to – as many as 22 Adif managers (Director of Railway Infrastructure) fell off the list of accused, the trial, which has been held since October in the Cidade da Cultura de Santiago, sat on the stand, as well as the driver Francisco Garzón, Director of Traffic Safety. But on the day he presented his conclusions, the prosecutor in the case, Mario Pinheiro, withdrew his charge against that charge brought by Adive. As of that hearing, all the weight in the hearing room rested with some 90 lawyers: those representing the prosecution exercised by two associations of victims and those of individuals, representing survivors and relatives of certain deceased passengers.

Jesús Dominguez, Chief of Alfia Victims Platform 04155, in front of Santiago Station.
Jesús Dominguez, Chief of Alfia Victims Platform 04155, in front of Santiago Station.Oscar Corral (Country)

Jesus Dominguez, President Alfia Victims Platform 04155, asserts that the case can be summed up in “two major calls”: “the call the driver received from the controller” which made him lose the notion that he was close to the ill-fated Angrois curve – which Renfe pilots feared at the time – “and the call the public prosecutor received, we assume it was from a chief like the state attorney general, to drop the charges against Cortabet”. Álvaro García Ortiz denies the existence of “interference”, but in a 180-degree turn, On June 20, Mario Pinheiro suddenly changed his mind and joined the theses of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, an institution that represents Adive in this case and has carried out the most tearing interrogations of the trial, towards experts, witnesses and even victims, with almost no oversight by Judge María Elena Fernandez Coras. Just a few months ago, Pinheiro asserted that “the tragic accident would not have happened” had Cortabitart “assessed and managed the speed risks” that were present at that point on the line.

In this week’s tweet about “10 years of ignorance and lies,” Victims Platform salvaged a compilation video of embellished statements by politicians who promised to expose “the truth” and who, when given the power and opportunity, did not. From Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sanchez to Alberto Núñez Figo, and from Yolanda Diaz to Pablo Iglesias. “They have my obligation that I will not rest until I know the truth,” said Anna Pasteur. “It is absolutely inappropriate that some kind of pact of silence should be produced,” Iglesias exclaimed. “We are all weeping for the anxiety of the families,” Vigo said in a broken voice at one of the day’s acts in Galicia as the police blocked the road to the victims’ building with their banners. Diaz criticized: “It is very sad that families today cannot mourn because the responsibilities have not yet been clarified.”

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“The dog does not eat the dog,” sums up the spokesperson for the victims, who feel their personal tragedies are being crushed by “the cause of the state,” in a trial where Adif and Renfe, but more than the second, are at stake. 58 million in compensation Above all, international prestige. Domínguez, seriously injured in Angroes, says that in the actions with which they will commemorate the victims on the tenth anniversary, they will make special reference to the role played by the lawyer and state attorney of Galicia who handled the case. The latter, Javier Suarez, head of the legal profession in Galicia, said last Thursday in his findings report that “it is difficult to apologize for something for which one does not feel responsible”, although he lamented the administration’s “lack of sympathy” for the passengers of the Alvia S-730 train, a hybrid model christened in the train drivers’ union as Frankenstein.

Garzon’s “Maximum Indulgence”.

he The only person who apologized in this decadeFrom the moment the accident occurred, he was the worker who was in the control compartment that day. This was recalled in their conclusions by the victims’ attorney and Renfe’s lawyer, who also this week asked for “maximum leniency” with Francisco Garzon. “Obviously he deserves it,” stressed the representative of the service operator, the other public company of the rail system, along with Adiv, the requested civil liability. For Renfe, the accident occurred because in that unfortunate section (a curve at the exit of a tunnel along which they had to travel at 80 kilometers per hour and Alfia entered it at 190) “the driver was the only guarantor of the safety system that the managers considered correct”, but that “was not enough”.

There were no signals or beacons to compensate for the technical decision to do without the safety system and automatic braking ERTMS is on the right track (and later also its equivalent on trains), which was quickly taken to modify the project. “We feel that in the oral trial, Adif did worse than Renvi, because it was shown that measures must be taken not to leave all responsibility in the hands of man, and that Adiv and Cortabitart [el alto cargo que daba el visto bueno con su rúbrica] They had to do a risk analysis of the whole, which they didn’t do, ”recalls Jesús Dominguez. A spokesperson for the platform for victims defends that the risk analysis of each subsystem, in a path that integrates many elements, does not guarantee anything: “You can have a certified chip, which if you put it on the edge of a ravine and do not assess the risks of the full scenario, it will be completely dangerous,” he compares.

Francisco Jose Losada, attorney for another group of victims Apavas (Association of People Affected by the Alfia Railway Accident in Santiago), is of the opinion that there is “a very high probability of an accident in Angua, which would have appeared if a risk analysis had been carried out”. According to the lawyer, “the trains ran without any protection at the only dangerous point on the line… That day it was a call, but on any other day it could have been something else.” “There was a second layer of security missing,” he adds. In his view, it has been “adopted” that Cortabitart breach of regulations to abandon this situation. It is, precisely, the periphery of the rules to be settled next week with the approval of sentencing, with the feeling almost unanimous among the popular and private accusations that two things were proven in the overall process: that error was not only the driver, and that there was a so-called “Cord of the Curve”, a plot by “state authorities” to “cover up protection measures” about absences. At the last moment, the Public Prosecutor’s Office withdrew its charge against the Adif traffic safety director at the time of the accident, Andres Kurtapetart.

“Put the blame on the last link”

“Ten long years have passed, demanding clarification of responsibilities at all levels, fighting against the institutions involved and against the state itself, which used all its means to hide the negligence and non-compliance with regulations behind the tragedy,” the company announced in a statement. Alpha Victims Platform After witnessing how the Public Prosecutor, physically seated next to the lawyer of those affected by the accident, changed trenches. And criticized the association, referring to Telephone consultation that references He decided to make the train driver at the worst moment, only because, as Renfe’s former worker admitted at trial, “I have nothing to do”. The idea that signs and signals were really needed in this section was reinforced a few days after the accident, because the officials ordered them to be put up immediately.

“The explanation for this twist in the text is simple,” asserts the Majority League: “The public prosecutor, whose head is appointed by the government, has been accusing an organization, adif, which belongs to the state, and which is meticulously defended by the same prosecutor, whose head is also appointed by the government.” “Once again, the country is back to square one, to the charter of the curve of the various governments to point to the driver as the sole culprit”, which “broke the European Union” and for this reason Cortabitarte ended up on the bench. The group led by Jesus Dominguez warns once again “the state machinery has been operating for all these years”, in order to “blame it all on the last link in the chain, the driver, avoiding any kind of responsibility and polluting public opinion”. “If Garzón had died in the accident, I don’t know if there would have been a trial,” said the spokesperson for the victims, who were rescued 10 years ago from under a cart with both legs crushed. The person who had rescued him in the chaos, soot, smoke, and darkness had only told him one thing before entering the caravan to collect the dead: “You’ve been very lucky.”

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