Ward waited for hours while victims with more serious injuries were taken to the hospital. As he watched rescue crews carry the dead and wounded, he cried and sang church hymns to calm himself down.
The sun set, and this place, where the track curves near Santiago de Compostela, was faintly illuminated by the red and yellow flashing lights of the ambulances.
A long line of ambulances formed next to the train tracks, as rescuers moved the dead and injured out of the train cars.
Video from the scene showed rescuers using a wooden board to carry out a body, covered in a blanket, which was then moved to an adjoining field and placed on the ground. The board was then reused for the next body.
Rescuers continued to work in the dark, using flashlights.
Relatives of those on the train are awaiting a comprehensive list of the deceased. In the meantime, some are turning to Twitter, asking anyone for information about their missing loved ones.
"Please, desperation," wrote one woman on Twitter, asking about three missing girls. The replies came in that the girls were confirmed dead.
Atlas captured video of one man, apparently in desperation, running toward the mangled train, ignoring police whistles and calls to stop. The officers caught up with the man and turned him away.
The sun rose Thursday, as Spain began to understand the scale of this tragedy.
One of the cars was lifted with a crane and moved -- it looked like a candy wrapper, peeled at one end, its bottom nearly scraped off.
Ward was discharged from the hospital Thursday, wearing a neck brace because of a cracked vertebra he suffered in the crash. Lacerations on his face are stapled shut, and there's a huge bruise on his leg.
He says he hopes to resume his missionary service after he recuperates.
"I'm just all the more grateful to be here. I'm all the more grateful to still be alive," he says. "I really want to serve honorably. I know I've been kept alive for a reason."