Spanish train derailment
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Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver talks to friends who attended mass in Annandale for the local woman killed in the Spain train crash. (Published Friday, Jul 26, 2013)
A woman from the D.C. metro area was among the more than 80 people killed when a passenger train derailed in Spain Wednesday.
Ana-Maria Cordoba, 47, worked as a benefits specialist for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Virginia Woman Killed in Spanish Train Crash
News4's Shomari Stone spoke with the neighbor of Ana-Maria Cordoba, who was killed Wednesday in a train derailment in Spain. (Published Thursday, Jul 25, 2013)
Cordoba was traveling with her husband and daughter, who were also in the crash and are now listed in stable condition at local hospitals. The three were on their way to visit Cordoba's youngest son, who had just finished the Camino, a pilgrimage across northern Spain.
"She passed away doing something that she loved, " family friend Belinda Lee said. "She was traveling, she was with her family, and she was inspired. She wanted to be there."
Houston Couple Was on Train That Derailed in Spain
Robert and Myrta Fariza of Houston were in Spain after their daughter's wedding in Rome. Fariza describes the horror of Wednesday's train derailment in Northern Spain and his frantic search for his wife after the crash. (Published Thursday, Jul 25, 2013)
Cordoba's children learned of her death over the phone.
Mike Donohue with the Arlington Diocese said the staff found out Thursday afternoon Cordoba had passed away.
"Initially we had just heard she was missing, [and] a noon mass was held [Thursday], " Donohue said. "She was very well-liked... [and] very helpful. She had a deep faith and was so very sweet."
At least five other Americans were also injured in the crash.
Excessive speed has been identified as the likely cause of the accident, which occurred near the city of Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region. Security video that surfaced Thursday shows the train speeding around a right curve.
The driver of the train was detained and put under formal investigation Thursday, NBC News reported.
The Spanish government has declared a national mourning period of three days in the wake of the crash, which was Europe’s worst mainline rail accident for more than 25 years.
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How do trains derail?
Trains can derail because they are going to fast around a corner, or it could hit some sort of obstacle, which would cause it to derail. A train is not set up like a steel roller coaster where there are wheels on the top, the side and the bottom. On a train there are only wheel on the top with a lip on the inside edge which holds them on.
Mmechanical failures such as a hot box (hot journal) that goes undetected long enough, broken wheels or problems with track gauge, broken rail, and washouts among many other problems can lead to a derailment Anytime there is an emergen…