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Train tragedy in Tempi: A year later, victims’ families still struggling for Justice!

They were all there: parents and spouses and children of the 57 people who found a tragic death in the train crash in Tempi on February 28, 2023.

One year later, with tears in their eyes and trembling voices, the mourning families held a press conference about the government’s actions to investigate the tragedy, the hastily covering of the crash site, the quick concluding of the Parliament commission investigating the issue and the ongoing attempts to cover up state responsibilities, as they complained for one more time.

Συγγενής θύματος των Τεμπών

“They covered the crash site very quickly, while not all bodies [or parts] were found. They covered evidence that would lead to full investigation of the train collision and the fire that followed,” Dimitra Ganidou, mother of one of the victims said.

“They did not even give us the ashes of our children, they threw them away, ” the mother of 22-year-old Giorgos underlined. “That was a hubris,” she added.

A year ago 57 passengers, among them several university students – died when a passenger and a cargo train collided in Tembi, central Greece. Since then, the ruling New Democracy has done its best to block attempts to find out who and what was to blame for the tragedy.

A year later, the Supreme Court ordered the investigation of  commercial train’s cargo  and the 2 acres of scattered train wreckage, as the relatives and the Greek people keep asking for justice!

Supreme Court

Following ongoing complains, denouncements and allegations by the victims’ relatives, the prosecutor of Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) issued an order to the prosecutor’s office in the appeals court of Larissa, in central Greece, on Monday, to comprehensively clarify “every claim and every allegation” regarding the disaster to ensure there is no shadow over the investigation.

Independent investigators’ report

Within three days and before the funerals of the 57 victims of the Tempe train tragedy were concluded, the state apparatus had already taken care to make the scene of the crime unrecognizable by digging and “shaving” the ground from the soil to the extent that its level decreased and the chances of elucidating the real causes of the tragedy were dramatically reduced. Cranes “stepped” on the spot already on the first day of the tragedy, while on the sixth day the shaping of the area had been completed and now there was nothing.

That was one of the findings of a team by independent technical advisors hired by the victims’ relatives presented on Monday, two days before the sad anniversary.

“At the same time, in the area from the first moment after the accident, the slightest safety and security of the site had not been observed, as a result of which people were found there that no one had checked, while among them were also employees of TRAINOSE and the Hellenic Train, the two entities that are actually checked for the tragic event.”

These conclusions are included in the final conclusion of the Independent Family Expert Investigation Committee (EDAPO), which was presented on Monday, just two days before the one-year anniversary of the worst train accident ever to occur on Greek rails.

Daily ethnos.gr reported regarding the question of the fire and whether it was the cause of the death of some passengers, the technical advisors were firm: “If we had not had the fire, we would not have had 57 victims”, said Kostas Lakafosis, a member of the committee of technical advisors.

“We assumed it at first, now we know it. At least five of the victims died as a result of the fire. And this was something that was not investigated,” he added.

He insisted that the silicone oil in the train’s transformers, to which the ignition was attributed by the two commissions of inquiry, could not have had this effect: “We are the only ones who have tested this oil in practice and do not share the theory that it is responsible for ignition. We tried it. Others could have found it, but only we searched.”

The conclusion was presented in the presence of the families of the victims and injured of the accident, who continue to worry about the possibility of covering up the real causes after the way the work of the relevant Parliamentary Inquiry Committee ended.

Relatives’ PETITION for lifting of Minister, MPs’ immunity

The Association of Relatives of the Victims is planning to send a petition to Parliament demanding legislative action to lift ministers’ and MPs’ immunity from criminal prosecution.

The petition requests that Parliament activate Article 73, Paragraph 6 of the Greek Constitution, which gives citizens the right to exercise a legislative initiative. Each petition needs to amass at least 500,000 signatures and cannot pertain to budgetary, foreign policy or defense matters.

The association’s petition for lifting protections enjoyed by ministers and MPs against criminal prosecution has gathered more than 780,000 signatures on February 27.

PLEASE, SIGN THE PETITION HERE

The petition comes amid calls for a more thorough investigation into the underlying causes of the disaster, which claimed 57 lives, as a contentious Parliamentary inquiry prepares to wrap up proceedings, daily kathimerini noted.

“The signatures will be sent to the prosecutor, who is obliged to promptly submit them to Parliament for a vote. In a democratic country, Parliament is obligated to respect the citizens’ wishes. Parliament is obligated to operate in accordance with the law and democratic institutions,” the association’s spokeswoman, Maria Karystianou, who lost her daughter in the crash, said in a social media post.

“On May 31, human remains were accidentally found on the crash site. November 15-16 new investigation for human remains on the site was conducted,” daily avgi.gr reported from the relatives’ press conference.

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2 comments

  1. On top of the injustice in this case, I see no action on improving railway safety for future generations.

  2. Of course the government will continue to try and cover it up. I have no appropriate words to express how i feel about their lack of compassion for those whom have lost their loved ones.Sadly it always seems to be the case. 😢