Discovery Networks International Commissions ITN Productions For News Documentary

Discovery Networks International today announces it will broadcast an exclusive documentary special from ITN Productions, Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster – a poignant but factual account of the recent catastrophic rail crash in Santiago de Compostella, Spain. Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster investigates the moments leading up to the crash, analyses the tragedy frame-by-frame before covering the immediate aftermath, rescues, and the nationwide mourning – and will premiere on Discovery Channel from 29th September in DNI’s 224 international territories throughout Western Europe, Nordics, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

Dan Korn, Senior Vice President and Head of Programming for Discovery Networks Western Europe, which commissioned the programme, comments: “Discovery Channel is globally recognised for providing a unique window on the world in which we live, bringing viewers exclusive stories rooted in fact and tempered with scientific and technological analysis. In Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster we share exclusive footage and expert opinion to piece together the facts and provide viewers with an insight as to how this tragic event unfolded.”

Emma Read, Head of Factual & Features at ITN Productions and Executive Producer of Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster, says: “The Santiago de Compostella crash was a truly tragic event that made headlines around the world. This documentary will look back at the trail of events that led to the crash as well as the devastating aftermath. Through expert production, exclusive interviews and footage, and 3-D graphics we’ll investigate important questions that need to be asked and consider the impact the crash will have on the future of train travel.”

At 8.42 pm on Wednesday July 24th, an inter-city train with 218 passengers on board derailed at high speed just four kilometres short of the station at Santiago de Compostella, Spain – a pilgrimage destination for Catholics all over the world. Seventy nine passengers were killed, and more than twenty are still in a critical condition.

Footage from a trackside security camera shows the train leaving the rails as it emerges from the tunnel into a tight bend. The eight carriages behind were propelled into a concrete embankment throwing them and their passengers twisting through the air. This unique documentary analyses this film and illustrates the movement though a detailed three-dimensional graphic, showing the extraordinary physics of the crash.

Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster presents a second-by-second analysis of Spain’s worst train disaster, and delves into the important questions that surround the fatal incident: What caused the train to derail? Was there a catastrophic technological malfunction or driver error? Or was it a combination of the two? Was the train going too fast? And what did the driver do in the moments before the crash?

Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster also looks ahead to the future of train travel in the wake of this terrible event, featuring contributions from leading researchers and train engineers about the world’s most advanced train safety technology. As Europe and other parts of the world move towards creating a high speed rail network across continents, the programme explores whether we are at risk of creating a network more susceptible to serious train disasters.

Amongst the tragedy and devastation, in exclusive footage, the human story unfolds with a fascinating technological angle, filmed by cameras at the scene together with Spanish TV archive footage. Through science, witness testimony and forensic analysis of the crash, Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster explores the implications of this rail disaster for the future of high-speed train travel in Europe and beyond.

Featuring exclusive accounts from leading European rail safety experts, the Spanish emergency services and eyewitness survivors of the crash, including Oscar Luis Gonzalez – a pilgrim en-route to Santiago and Rosana Martín Pérez, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and seven broken ribs but was still able to walk away from the crash . The programme also interviews Isidoro Castaño Ballesteros, a local man who was one of the first rescuers at the scene and who recorded dramatic footage just minutes after the disaster.

Spain’s Worst Rail Disaster is commissioned by Elizabeth McIntyre on behalf of Dan Korn for Discovery Networks Western Europe, and produced by ITN Productions. Tom Gorham is Executive Producer for Discovery Networks Western Europe. Emma Read is Executive Producer for ITN Productions.

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