Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

ATHENS, Greece — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized Sunday for any accountability Greece’s authorities might bear for the deadliest practice crash within the nation’s historical past, whereas a stationmaster going through prices gave his account of the occasions main as much as the tragedy.

Not less than 57 folks have been killed when a passenger practice and a freight practice collided late Tuesday north of Athens. The stationmaster is accused of mistakenly guiding the 2 trains touring in reverse instructions onto the identical observe, precipitating the head-on collision.

In an preliminary assertion Wednesday, Mitsotakis mentioned the crash resulted from a “tragic human error.” Opposition events pounced on the comment, accusing the prime minister of attempting to cowl up the state’s function and making the inexperienced stationmaster within the metropolis of Larissa a scapegoat.

“I owe everybody, and particularly the victims’ kin, an enormous apology, each private and on behalf of all who ruled the nation for a few years,” Mitsotakis wrote on Fb. “In 2023, it’s inconceivable that two trains transfer in several instructions on the identical observe and nobody notices. We can not, we don’t wish to, and we should not conceal behind the human error.”

Greek media have reported that the automated signaling system within the space of the crash was not functioning, resulting in the stationmaster’s mistake.

The prime minister promised a swift investigation of the collision and mentioned the brand new Greek transportation minister would launch a security enchancment plan. As soon as a brand new parliament is in place, a fee additionally shall be named to research a long time of mismanagement of the nation’s railway system, Mitsotakis mentioned.

He had been anticipated to announce an election date on Friday however postponed the announcement within the wake of the practice catastrophe.

Greece’s railways lengthy suffered from power mismanagement, together with lavish spending on tasks that have been finally deserted or considerably delayed, Greek media have reported in a number of exposes. With state railway firm Hellenic Railways billions of euros in debt, upkeep work was postpone, in line with the information studies.

A retired railway union chief, Panayotis Paraskevopoulos, informed Greek newspaper Kathimerini that the signaling system within the space monitored by the Larissa stationmaster malfunctioned six years in the past and was by no means repaired.

The stationmaster testified Sunday earlier than a prosecutor and an analyzing Justice of the Peace in Larissa to reply prices that embody a number of counts of negligent murder and bodily hurt, in addition to disruption of transport.

Police and prosecutors haven’t recognized him consistent with Greek regulation. Nevertheless, Hellenic Railways, also called OSE, revealed the stationmaster’s title Saturday, in an announcement suspending the corporate inspector who appointed him. The stationmaster additionally has been suspended.

Greek media have reported that the stationmaster, a former porter with the railway firm, was transferred to a Ministry of Schooling desk job in 2011, when Greece’s collectors demanded reductions within the variety of public workers. The 59-year-old was transferred again to the railway firm in mid-2022 and began a 5-month course to coach as a stationmaster.

Upon finishing the course, he was assigned to Larissa on Jan. 23, in line with his personal Fb put up. Nevertheless, he spent the subsequent month month rotating amongst different stations earlier than returning to Larissa in late February, days earlier than the Feb. 28 collision, Greek media reported.

On Sunday, railway unions organized a protest rally in central Athens attended by about 12,000 folks in line with authorities.

5 folks have been arrested and 7 cops have been injured when a gaggle of greater than 200 masked, black-clad people began throwing items of marble, rocks, bottles and firebombs at officers, in line with the Athens police division.

Police on the scene responded with “restricted use of the required, applicable means” — that’s, tear fuel and stun grenades – and chased suspects alongside a central avenue within the metropolis.

In Thessaloniki, about 3,000 folks attended two protest rallies. The bigger one, organized by left-wing activists, marched to a authorities constructing. No incidents have been reported at that occasion.

Within the different, staged by Communist Occasion members on the White Tower, the town’s signature monument, there was a quick scuffle with police when the protesters tried to put a banner on the monument.

“The Communist Occasion organized a symbolic protest immediately in entrance of the White Tower to denounce the crime in Tempe, as a result of it’s a premeditated crime, a criminal offense dedicated by the corporate and the bourgeois state that helps these firms,” Giannis Delis, a communist lawmaker, informed The Related Press.

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