Train collision: Greece asks Turkey to grant leave to the imprisoned father of the deceased train driver

train collision

Greek authorities have asked their Turkish counterparts if the father of 28-year-old Nikos Nalbandis, who lost his life in the train collision in Tempi, could be temporarily released from the prison he is held in so that he could be at his son's funeral.

According to Proto Thema, after the first communication from the 28-year-old's family, Greek diplomats immediately contacted the competent Turkish prosecutor's office and requested emergency permission to visit the Greek citizen, without complying to the weekly deadline.

The requested permission to visit was granted exceptionally and this morning the said meeting was said to have taken place.

What the Greek side is asking for, diplomatic sources said, is for the prisoner to attend his son's funeral on the basis of humanitarian reasons.

In any case, what is clarified from the Greek side is that the acceptance or not of the request for "special permission for humanitarian reasons" falls under the exclusive competence of the Turkish authorities.

The revelation that the father of the 28-year-old train driver is detained in prisons in Turkey and is scheduled to take leave after Easter - so he will not be present at the funeral of his child - was made on Thursday morning by a relative of the deceased youth.

The young woman said her last goodbye to her longtime partner with a photo of them together which she accompanied with the following caption: "Oh my soul, I'm waiting here for you to come back. To make our dreams come true. I'm here and I'm waiting..."

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Anger in Greece over poor railway safety grew on Thursday as the death toll from one of the country’s worst train crashes in recent years reached 57.

Demonstrators poured onto the streets after the head-on collision between a passenger train carrying more than 350 people and a freight train on Tuesday evening in Tempi, near the city of Larissa.

Protesters clashed with police in the capital Athens, the country’s transport minister resigned in the wake of the tragedy and a rail workers’ union is going on strike, accusing the government of “disrespect” in the sector.

Another 48 people remain in hospital as a result of the crash, which left toppled carriages and scorched debris in its wake. Six of the injured being treated are in critical condition due to head wounds and serious burns, public broadcaster ERT reported Thursday.

After a train station manager in Larissa was arrested in connection to the collision, Greek authorities on Thursday also released striking dispatch audio recordings that show one of the train drivers receiving instructions to ignore a red light.

“Proceed through red traffic light exit until traffic light entry of Neon Poron,” the station master is heard saying.

“Vasilis, am I good to go?” the train driver responds, to which the train master says “Go, go.”

In a second conversation, the station master can be heard ordering an employee to keep one of the trains on the same track.

“Shall I turn it now?” the employee asks.

“No, no, because 1564 is on this route,” the station master says.

The station master has been charged with mass deaths through negligence and causing grievous bodily harm through negligence. Upon arrest he blamed the collision on a technical fault, though later admitted to “making a mistake.”

Protesters gathered outside the central Athens headquarters of Greek rail company Hellenic Train again on Thursday evening in a demonstration organized by student and worker unions.

Police already had a presence outside the Hellenic Train headquarters before the demonstrators arrived. The protest was peaceful, following unrest on Wednesday in which demonstrators clashed with police.

Most of the passengers involved in the accident were young, a local hospital told ERT. The accident came soon after a holiday weekend.

Search and rescue operations will continue on Thursday and Friday at the site of the crash, according to the Fire Service.

Meanwhile, relatives of those missing are still awaiting news regarding their loved ones as the identification process continues at Larissa General Hospital.

Speaking earlier to Greek media, Dimitris Bournazis, who is trying to get news about his father and brother, said no one has given him any information. Bournazis said he was trying to contact the company to find out where on the train his relatives were sitting at the time of the crash. He said he called the offices of Hellenic Train three times but no one has called him back.

“The prime minister and the health minister came here yesterday. Why? To do what? To explain what? Where are they today?” Bournazis told Greek broadcaster SKAI, adding that “no one has given us any information, no one knows how many people really were inside.”

“We cannot only blame one person for this because of a mistake. Where is everyone else now? They all await the election to speak,” he said.

READ MORE: Train collision: Protesters in Thessaloniki painted train carriages red and black (PHOTOS)

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