Former head of OSE and two other directors indicted for Greek train crash

Greek train crashThe former chairman of the state-owned Spiros Pateras and two other directors have been charged in connection with the February Greek train crash that killed 57 people.

The three have been charged with breaching their official duties for giving the job of head of Larisa station, where the accident occurred, to a railway employee who did not meet the necessary conditions for the job.

The employee, who was also charged, admitted in court that he had shunted a passenger train on the same line as an oncoming freight train, with which he ended up colliding. Given that Larisa station is a hotspot on the Greek rail network, one of the conditions for getting the job was that the occupant should be no more than 48 years old, 11 years younger than the age of the person who got the job.

Under Greece’s penal code, the offence of breach of duty by a civil servant is punishable by up to two years in prison. The former head of Larisa station is in pre-trial detention on charges of “negligent homicide” and other offences which could carry a sentence of between ten years and life imprisonment if convicted.

Greece train crash leaves 57 dead

The rail disaster occurred on the night of 28 February when a passenger train collided head-on with a freight train north of the town of Larisa, killing 57 people, mostly students. Thousands of Greeks took to the streets after the accident to demand punishment, and protests ended in clashes with police.

At the time, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised to the families of the victims. “As Prime Minister, I owe you all, but especially the relatives of the victims, an apology. In the Greece of 2023, it is not possible for two trains to run in opposite directions on the same line and for no one to notice,” the prime minister wrote in a message on his official Facebook account.

Hellenic Train has announced that it will compensate each family of the 57 passengers killed in the train crash in Greece on 28 February with an “advance payment” of EUR 42,000.

Injured passengers will receive compensation of between EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000, depending on their injuries and the length of hospitalisation, the company announced. Hellenic Train, the Greek rail operator owned by Italian state-owned Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane (FS), said the compensation “does not in any way constitute an acceptance of liability on the part of the company” under the EU regulation. The Greek government has already announced that it will compensate each family that has lost a loved one in the accident with a monthly pension of EUR 1,600 and forgiveness of debts to the state.

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