Clear Lake train wreck survivor reacts to Philly accident

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Very seldom can anyone really put themselves in somebody else's shoes. But if anyone can understand what the families of the people killed in Tuesday's derailment in Philadelphia are going through, it's the Fariza family in Houston.

"When you see the news about what's happened in Philadelphia, you have flashbacks of everything you experienced," says Jisselle Fariza. "It has been a lot of triggers for me, for my dad who's a train crash survivor, and my sisters."

Jisselle Fariza's parents were on a high speed train to Santiago de Compostela, Spain when it derailed just two minutes from its final destination in July 2013. They were in Europe for her wedding and took their own second honeymoon afterwards.

"As we went in through a tunnel, once we hit the curve. It was one moment we were just fine talking to each other. And another moment, the train just flipped on its side," recalls Robert Fariza.

Robert Fariza was thrown from his seat and lost consciousness. When he came to, he tells us he tried to find his wife, Myrta. First responders found her and it took 35 minutes to pull her out of the wreckage. She was still alive.

"We were a marriage of 40 years, and one one thing we always did was hold hands. I never stopped holding her hand until we were separated in the emergency room," Fariza said.

She died four days later with her husband and daughters by her side. Fast forward to Tuesday and all those memories just came rushing back for Robert and his daughters.

"It has been an extremely difficult experience for us to see that passenger safety is an issue here in the united states as well," Jisselle Fariza laments.

"I didn't sob, but I did cry for a few minutes," Robert Fariza adds. "I prayed for the people because I know."

As a survivor and one who's lost the person dearest to him, he says he wants to be a resource for the victims in Philadelphia.

"One of the things I wish to do is to talk to them because I know what they went through and they need to be prepared to deal with this for a long time," Fariza said.

The Farizas tell us the conductor of the train faces nearly 80 charges, but hasn't been convicted and still works for the train company.

They were encouraged to hear that the engineer from Tuesday's derailment has agreed to talk to investigators. They believe it's a step toward justice for these victims.
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