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22 May, 2024
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Train crash suspect 'devastated'

Defense attorney says suspect accepts responsibility but points out others are also responsible


The station master who faces manslaughter in Greece’s deadly rail collision is devastated and accepts responsibility, says his lawyer, while pointing out that others are also responsible for the disaster.

A 59-year-old Hellenic Train employee in Larissa, who was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a train accident near Tempe, northern Greece, has been given time until Saturday to prepare for his arraignment.

Attorney Stefanos Pantzartzides, who represents the suspect, told reporters his client has been charged with dangerous disruptions of transportation, which becomes a felony due to massive deaths after dozens perished, including a Cypriot college student.

But the more serious charge of manslaughter through gross negligence is taking a heavy toll on the station master, according to Pantzartzides.

'He accepts the responsibility that belongs to him but it is important that we do not miss the forest for the trees, and here, there is a forest of responsibilities'

“On a human level, he’s devastated. He reflects upon what happened and cannot bear the burden of responsibility,” he said.

Greek media said the station master had emerged as the main suspect following statements made to authorities by three of his colleagues.

Reports said Hellenic Police determined that both trains were moving towards each other on the same line for 20 kilometers for about 10-15 minutes, suggesting the station master had direct knowledge of the occurrence.

His lawyer told court reporters this week that his client, father of two, “accepts the responsibility that belongs to him.”

“But it is important that we do not miss the forest for the trees. And here, there is a ‘forest’ of responsibilities,” Pantzartzides added.

Greek media said the station master had been new on the specific job and had received only brief training, while additional reports also pointed out issues with the condition of the railway as well as lack of redundancy systems and automated safety mechanisms.

“I believe that justice will do its job very well," Pantzartzides told reporters.

Earlier Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the accident appeared to have been "mainly due to a tragic human error" and promised a full and independent investigation.

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  train collision  |  Larissa

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