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Station master charged in Greece train crash that killed 57

a Station master accused of causing Greece’s worst train accident Prime Minister Kyriakos Mysotakis has apologized for the responsibility the Greek government may bear for the tragedy.

Investigative magistrates and prosecutors agreed to charge railroad workers with multiple charges of murder, bodily harm and endangering transportation safety.

At least 57 people, many in their teens and twenties, were killed when a northbound passenger train collided with a southbound freight train. collided late Tuesday North of the city of Larissa in central Greece.

The 59-year-old station master allegedly steered two trains traveling in opposite directions onto the same track. He spent seven and a half hours testifying about the events leading up to the crash on Sunday before being charged and given a restraining order.

“My client testified honestly without fear that doing so would convict him,” Stefanos Panzartzidis, the station master’s lawyer, told reporters. Given the importance, the decision (to imprison him) was expected.

greece transport accident
Police and paramedics examine the debris of a crushed freight train on March 2, 2023, two days after a train crash in the Tempe Valley near Larissa, Greece.


Pantzartzidis said a judge should investigate whether more than one station master could have been working for Larissa at the time of the crash, implying that others besides his clients share responsibility. rice field.

“For 20 minutes he was in charge of (train) security throughout central Greece,” the lawyer said of his client.

Greek media reported that the automatic signal system at the crash site was not working and that the station master may have made a mistake. Stationmasters along that section of the main Greek trunk line communicate with each other and with train drivers via two-way radios, and switches are operated manually.

The prime minister promised a speedy investigation into the crash and said the new Greek transport minister would announce a plan to improve safety. The new parliament will also set up a commission to investigate decades of mismanagement of the country’s rail system, Mitsotakis said.

In an initial statement Wednesday, Mitsotakis said the crash was the result of “tragic human error.” The opposition jumped on the remarks, accusing the prime minister of trying to cover up the state’s role and scapegoating inexperienced station masters.

“I owe everyone, especially the relatives of the victims, a big apology, both personally and on behalf of everyone who has ruled the country for many years,” Mitsotakis said on Sunday. wrote in the book. “It is unthinkable that in 2023 two trains will be traveling on the same tracks in different directions and no one will notice. not.”

Technical staff remove vehicles from the site of the February 28 train crash in Tempe Valley, near Larissa, March 3, 2023.

AFP via Stringer/Getty Images

Greece’s railways have long suffered from chronic mismanagement, including heavy spending on projects, before they were eventually abandoned or severely delayed, according to several revelations in the Greek media. According to reports, maintenance work has been postponed due to billions of euros in debt for state-run Hellenic Railways.

Retired rail union leader Panayotis Paraskebopoulos told Greek newspaper Kasimerini that the local signaling system overseen by station master Larissa broke down six years ago and was never repaired.

In accordance with Greek law, police and prosecutors have not identified the stationmaster. However, Greek Railways, also known as OSE, revealed the name of the station master on Saturday in an announcement to suspend the company inspector who appointed him.

Greek media reported that the stationmaster, a former porter for the railway company, was transferred to a secretary job at the Ministry of Education in 2011 when Greek creditors called for a reduction in the number of civil servants. Midway through the year, I transferred to a railroad company and started a five-month course to train as a station master.

Upon completing the course, he was assigned to Larissa on January 23, according to his own Facebook post. However, Greek media reported that he had been patrolling other observatories for the next month before returning to Larissa in late February, days before the February 28 crash.

About 12,000 people attended a protest rally in central Athens on Sunday, officials said.

Five people were arrested and seven were arrested when a group of more than 200 masked, black-clad people began throwing marbles, rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at policemen who were chasing them in tears on the city’s central streets. of police officers were injured. gas and stun grenades.

In Thessaloniki, about 3,000 people took part in two protest rallies. Some of the clash victims were students at Aristotelian University, Greece’s largest with over 50,000 students.

greece - railroad accident - protest - athens
Demonstrators protest the deaths of dozens in Greece’s deadliest rail accident between a passenger and freight train carrying more than 350 people Tuesday night in the Tempe Valley near the city of Larissa. Athens, Greece, 5 March 2023


Larger protests organized by left-wing activists marched against government buildings.

In another, Communist Party members staged at the city’s iconic monument, the White Tower, and there was a brief scuffle with police when protesters tried to set up a banner at the monument.

“The Communist Party today organized a symbolic protest in front of the White Tower to condemn Tempe’s crimes because it was a planned crime, committed by the companies and the bourgeois states that support these companies. It’s a crime,” said communist Giannis Delice. The lawmaker told the Associated Press.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/greece-train-crash-stationmaster-charged/ Station master charged in Greece train crash that killed 57

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