A PLANNED memorial of the deadly Santiago train crash has caused uproar among its victims and their families.
Victims and heroes of the July 24 rail tragedy – which left 79 dead and 140 injured – were due to be awarded the Medalla de Galicia as part of the remembrance ceremony.
But many have rejected the gong – the highest distinction given out by the region – as they feel they are being exploited by politicians.
Large numbers of relatives and friends of the victims are also refusing to attend the ceremony, in protest of the alleged failure of authorities to properly investigate the crash.
The ceremony has now been delayed, at the request of residents of Angrois – where the train derailed – so that the day itself can simply be ‘a day of retreat and silence’.
Victims’ groups are demanding a parliamentary investigation, but both the PP and the opposition Socialists are opposed to the probe.
The groups claim a number of obstacles have hindered the investigation – including the Santiago High Court dropping the trial of 22 Adif directors and technicians named as official suspects.
The court claimed in a statement that there was nothing to indicate the officials could be considered suspects for having let the Alvia train – which was carrying 227 passengers – run on the stretch of track.
But the driver Francisco Garzon – charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide – insisted he had voiced concerns over the ‘inhuman’ curve before the tragedy.
Several reforms have been drafted since the crash – including one that states victims and family members could receive double the amount of compensation under new regulations.
Ministers have also approved the creation of the State Railway Safety Agency – Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Ferroviaria – which is responsible for control and management of rail safety.