RAIL TRAGEDY

Valencia court reopens 2006 metro train crash inquiry

Prosecutors claim they have new evidence that was overlooked before the case was shelved

Demonstration held on January 3 in support of the Valencia metro victims.
Demonstration held on January 3 in support of the Valencia metro victims.josé jordán

The Valencia regional High Court on Tuesday decided to reopen the investigation into the 2006 metro train accident that claimed the lives of 43 people and injured 47 other passengers.

The court accepted a petition from prosecutors to reopen the case after it was closed for the second time last year by an investigating judge from a lower court.

In their petition, prosecutors said that they have uncovered new evidence and other data “which were not reviewed in their day” which affected “the condition” of the train involved in the crash.

The lower-court judge first closed the case in 2007 after ruling that the train driver, who died in the accident, was at fault. The court didn’t place any civil or criminal responsibilities on the Valencia regional or city governments despite indications that there had been a lack of investment in the upkeep of public transportation systems.

Then-Popular Party (PP) regional premier Francisco Camps handled the accident as a problem that would affect the pending visit of Pope Benedict XVI, and limited an investigation in the regional parliament to one week in August — the shortest inquiry in the assembly’s history.

This week, families of the victims took their complaints to the European Parliament.

The July 3, 2006 crash occurred when a train derailed while traveling at high speed. The families of the victims claim that the authorities in the region covered up the causes of the accident, and say there has never been a proper investigation.