Controller to face charge after crash

Tue, Mar 6, 2012, 00:00

Polish prosecutors plan to charge a railway signal controller for unintentionally causing a head-on collision between two trains that killed 16 people on Saturday, after one was accidentally sent into the others path.

Prosecutors investigating Poland’s worst train crash in 22 years said the controller faced up to eight years in jail if found guilty of incorrectly setting the track mechanism.The two trains, one an express service from Warsaw to Krakow, the other travelling to the capital, smashed into each other at a combined 100kph near the town of Szczekociny in southern Poland.

The impact sent one of the engines into the air and crashing down on several of the carriages behind it, and pushing others off the track. “While on duty this person directed a train to Krakow onto an incorrect railway track. That led to a head-on collision with a train to Warsaw,” said prosecutor Tomasz Ozimek.

Flags flew at half-mast around Poland yesterday and public events were cancelled or delayed as the country began two days of mourning.