Five days after the train accident in Greece, the station master charged

He admitted his responsibility. Five days after the train disaster that killed 57 people in Greece, the station master implicated for having made a fatal error was charged with his alleged responsibility for “the death of a large number of people”. This crime is punishable by a sentence ranging from ten years in prison to life, according to the Greek Penal Code. He was remanded in custody.

Vassilis Samaras, 59, whose identity has been revealed by the Ministry of Transport, has admitted responsibility for the head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight convoy, which found themselves on the same track. But the demonstrators, Sunday in Athens, demanded that the responsibilities be sought in the presumed state of dilapidation of the railway equipment, which left the fate of the passengers in the hands of an inexperienced station master.

“It was not human error! »

“Down with murderous governments! », « It was not a human error! “We read on the banners brandished by the approximately 12,000 people who shouted their anger on Syntagma Square, the large esplanade in front of the Parliament of the Greek capital. Protesters released hundreds of black balloons to pay tribute to the victims.

This drama aroused immense anger at the negligence and shortcomings in the railways. And the Athenian rally, the fourth since the accident, degenerated into violent incidents. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Lack of experience

“Nothing is going well in this country, the hospitals are dying, the schools are closing, the forests are burning… Who are they kidding? added Nikos Tsikalakis, president of a railway union. Most of the victims were young people and students returning to Thessaloniki, the major university city, after a long weekend. On Sunday morning, before a religious ceremony at the Orthodox Cathedral in Athens, Conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked the families of the victims for forgiveness in a solemn address. “In the Greece of 2023, it is not possible for two trains to run in opposite directions on the same line and no one to notice,” he said. And to insist: “We cannot, do not want and must not hide behind human error” attributed to the station master.

The lack of experience of the station master has indeed been denounced since the day after the tragedy. According to Greek media, he had received only a short training before finding himself alone as station master, while traffic on this line was intense due to a long weekend. According to a judicial source, the investigation also aims “to initiate criminal proceedings, if necessary, against members of the management of the company” Hellenic Train, the Greek railways.

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