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Police detain Spain train crash driver as suspect

This image taken from security camera video shows a train derailing in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Spanish investigators tried to determine Thursday why a passenger train jumped the tracks and sent eight cars crashing into each other just before arriving in this northwestern shrine city on the eve of a major Christian religious festival, killing at least 77 people and injuring more than 140. (AP Photo)

This image taken from security camera video shows a train derailing in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Spanish investigators tried to determine Thursday why a passenger train jumped the tracks and sent eight cars crashing into each other just before arriving in this northwestern shrine city on the eve of a major Christian religious festival, killing at least 77 people and injuring more than 140. (AP Photo)

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain (AP) - Police say they have detained the driver of a train that crashed in northwestern Spain and killed 78 people.

Galicia region National Police Chief Jaime Iglesias says driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was officially detained in the hospital where is recovering.

Iglesias says Garzon Amo will be questioned "as a suspect for a crime linked to the cause of the accident." He says the driver is being guarded by police and cannot yet testify because of his medical condition. Iglesias said he did not have details of the medical condition but that it could delay the driver's statement.

Police examining the remains of those killed have lowered the death count from 80 people to 78 and say the count could change again as they identify body parts and associate them with others. Seventy two bodies have been identified so far and six remain to be identified.

Investigators, meanwhile, have taken possession of the train's "black boxes." Analysts will use them to try to determine why the train was traveling far above the speed limit when it crashed near a station in Santiago de Compostela, in the northwestern Galicia.

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Police say they have detained the driver of a train that crashed in northwestern Spain and killed 78 people.

Galicia region National Police Chief Jaime Iglesias says driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was officially detained in the hospital where is recovering.

Iglesias said Friday that Garzon Amo would be questioned "as a suspect for a crime linked to the cause of the accident."

He says the driver is being guarded by police and cannot yet testify because of his medical condition. Iglesias said he did not have details of the medical condition but that it could delay the driver's statement.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Police scientists examining the remains of those killed in Spain's worst train crash in decades lowered the death count from 80 people to 78 on Friday and said the count could change as they continue their work identifying body parts and associating them with others.

Investigators, meanwhile, have taken possession of the "black boxes" of the train, which hurtled at high-speed along a curve and derailed, court spokeswoman Maria Pardo Rios said Friday. The boxes record train's trip data, including speed and distances and braking and are similar to flight recorders for airplanes.

The revised death toll came as forensic scientists matched body parts with each other at a makeshift morgue set up in a sports arena in Santiago de Compostela, in the northwestern Galicia region, where the train crashed Wednesday just as it was entering the outskirts of the city, said Antonio de Amo, the police chief in charge of the scientific service for Spain's National Police.

De Amo said police are still working to identify what they believe are the remains of six people.

The train's operator remained hospitalized Friday and will be questioned by police but Rios said the interview will not happen Friday.

Analysis will be performed to determine why the train was traveling far above the speed limit when it crashed near a station in Santiago de Compostela, Rios said. She declined comment on how long the analysis will take.


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