A train station master in Greece has been arrested on manslaughter charges following a deadly rail collision, while video of the fireball and dispatcher audio dialogues moments before the crash have been made public.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said "a horrific rail accident without precedent" appeared to have been "mainly due to a tragic human error," promising a full investigation after a passenger train carrying 350 people collided with a freight train before midnight Tuesday after a long holiday weekend.
The Greek government has also been accused of stalling critical work that would have automated the rail system in the area
A 59-year-old Larissa train station master initially denied any wrongdoing and blamed the accident on a technical fault.
But reports said he later admitted wrongdoing and was arrested on gross negligence manslaughter charges after it was revealed that the two trains had been on the same track for several miles before the head-on collision.
Actual audio between the train driver and the station master at Larissa as well as between the switchman and the master has been released, while reports also said there were technical issues including out-of-order traffic lights known to operators and lack of an automated guidance system.
Train driver: Larissa, do you copy?
Station master: Copy. Number 47 proceed through the red light exit until the Poros traffic light exit.
Driver: Vasilis, do I go?
Master: Go, go.
Driver: Copy, have a nice evening.
Master: Carry on.
Earlier audio between the master and the switchman also revealed that an order had been given not to turn the railway switch back to a straight line, so that a local train could use the turn but it was never switched back.
Switchman: Vasilis, do I turn it now?
Master: No, no, leave it because 1564 is on the way.
Switchman: Copy that, I leave it on turnout.
The Greek government has also been accused of stalling critical work that would have automated the rail system in the area.
Greek Transport Minister Costas Karamanlis, who resigned his post on Wednesday, admitted the railway had been unfit for modern use and said he was stepping down out of respect for the memory of the victims.