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MADRID (AFP) – The driver of a Spanish train that flew off the rails and killed 79 people admitted speeding but complained bitterly about a dangerous curve as he lay trapped in his cabin, a new recording reveals.
In a dramatic telephone call to rail officials moments after the July 24 disaster, injured train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo can be heard pleading to God, fretting over the fate of passengers and decrying the bend where the train derailed.
"There must be many wounded because it has turned over. I can't get out of the cabin," he said, pausing for breath every few words, in a recording released online on Thursday by leading daily El Pais.
The train's two data recording "black boxes" showed that moments before the crash the train was travelling at 192 kph (119 mph). The speed limit on the curve was 80 kph.
"It was green and I had a lapse and, how to say it, I should have gone at 80 and I went at 190 or something like that," the driver said in the call to rail officials at Madrid's Atocha station.
"Oh my God. I told those guys at safety that it was dangerous and one day we would lose concentration and pay for it," he complained.
"I already told those guys at safety that it was very dangerous," the driver repeated. "We are human and this can happen to us. This curve is inhuman," he added.
A rail official tried in vain over the phone to calm the driver as he lay trapped in the wreckage with fractured ribs.
"Yes, yes, I have turned over. My God, my God, the poor passengers. I hope no-one is dead. I hope. I hope," the driver said.
The eight-carriage train derailed and ploughed into a concrete siding about four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
It was the country's deadliest train accident in decades.