Greek train crash official charged and taken into custody

train collision larissa greece

According to his attorney and law enforcement officials, the nation's deadliest railway catastrophe is allegedly the fault of a Greek stationmaster, who has been prosecuted and detained.

The accused, 59, was charged with several counts of negligent manslaughter after accepting responsibility for leaving a freight train running on the same track as an approaching passenger train mainly carrying university students returning from a clean Monday celebration a public holiday in Greece.

During a seven-hour hearing before a prosecutor and investigating magistrate in the city of Larissa, located 380 kilometres north of Athens and close to the fatal crash scene, he was additionally charged with "obstructing the route of transit".

Details have emerged in the Greek media of the stationmaster's relative inexperience in the post and the fact that he was left unsupervised during a busy holiday weekend.

His lawyer, Stefanos Pantzartsidis, has insisted that while his client had admitted some responsibility, this was not the whole story. "In the case, important new elements need to be examined," he said Saturday.

Kostas Genidounias, head of the train drivers' union OSE, has said they had already warned the authorities about safety failings on the line where the crash happened.

Union leaders at Hellenic Train sounded the alarm just three weeks ago.

"We are not going to wait for the accident to happen to see those responsible shed crocodile tears," they said.

In Vatican City Sunday, Pope Francis offered prayers for the crash victims. "I am praying for the deceased," he said. "I am near the wounded and their relatives. May Our Lady comfort them."

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024