BOUNTIFUL — Stephen Ward, an LDS missionary from Bountiful, just six weeks into his mission in Madrid, Spain survived a deadly train derailment Wednesday in Santiago De Compastela.
Ward, 18, spoke at his missionary farewell in Bountiful on June 9, then left for the Missionary Training Center in Madrid. He is the son of Ray and Beverly Ward.
Ward was on the train Wednesday heading to his first assignment in El Ferrol, where his companion was to meet him, according to Scott Jackson, president of the Spain, Madrid Mission.
Ward received cuts to his scalp and a neck injury in the derailment, He also suffered a concussion, but the major concern is the neck injury. Ward is in the hospital in La Corvina, Spain.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the train accident in Spain," Dale Jones, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints said Thursday. He added that Ward is expected to make a full recovery.
Eight cars of the train derailed Wednesday night. Reports Thursday afternoon were that 80 people had been killed, and that ne of them was an American. Five Americans, including Ward, were injured. Ninety-five people were hospitalized.
Investigators are looking at speed as a possible cause of the accident. Some witnesses reported the train was going about 100 mph around a curve, when it should have been traveling half that speed, news agencies are reporting. Investigators are also looking at the possibility of mechanical failure.
Attempts to reach Ward's family were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.