Three more Greek rail officials were charged on Thursday in connection with a train crash that killed 57 people, as protests continued and the government promised to overhaul rail safety.
Magistrates overseeing an investigation into the causes of the crash said two of the officials charged on Thursday were station masters. Both had allegedly ended their work shifts early on the night of the incident, despite traffic being unusually heavy after a long holiday weekend.
A supervisor accused of placing an inexperienced station master on duty at the time of the crash was also indicted.
The charges are similar to those filed against a 59-year-old station manager who was arrested in the wake of the Feb. 28 crash in northern Greece and is currently in pre-trial detention.
All three will stand trial for offenses ranging from involuntary manslaughter to causing transport disruption and mass bodily harm – acts punishable with life in prison if they are found guilty.
PM apologizes again for the Greek train crash
The new indictments were issued as Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized again for the train disaster.
Addressing a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mitsotakis repeated his public apology in the name of all those who have governed the country in recent years, but especially for himself, personally.
“We take responsibility and we cannot, should not and do not want to hide behind a series of human errors,” he said.
He also pledged to take immediate measures to improve the problematic safety of the railways at the level of new technologies and human resources management.
Talks between railway unions and government on safety
Talks between railway staff unions and the transport ministry about the safe rebooting of Greece’s railway network after last week’s fatal train crash “were serious and constructive,” the Infrastructure & Transport Ministry said on Thursday.
The meeting was held by the Minister of State responsible for Infrastructure & Transport, Giorgos Gerapetritis, and members of the Panhellenic Federation of Railway Workers Unions (POS), who have declared a national train strike through Friday.
POS submitted proposals that “are timeless, but are at present relevant for a safe, functioning, quality railway service,” noted POS President Yiannis Ditsas.
“The ministry is committed to the necessity of having all guarantees in place, both from the state’s side and from the workers’ side, in order for the railway to restart safely,” Ditsas said, adding, “we will meet again next week to see how the process will move ahead.”
Hundreds of thousands protest train crash
Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered on Wednesday across major cities and communities in Greece to call for answers and justice in the wake of the train disaster that has plunged the country into sorrow and anger.
In Athens alone, tens of thousands marched in the city center on Wednesday to act as a voice for the 57 people who were confirmed dead in the train tragedy at Tempi.
Related: Train Disaster Derails Greece’s Political Establishment
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