Czech train crash that left one dead, 35 injured apparently caused by human error

The engine driver allegedly at fault was the only victim of Tuesday night's collision, in which 35 passengers suffered injuries


Written by ČTK
Published on 15.07.2020 09:30 (updated on 15.07.2020)

Český Brod, Central Bohemia, July 15 (CTK) – The tragic collision of a passenger and freight train near Český Brod seems to be caused by human failure as the engine driver continued driving despite the red rail signal, Transport Minister Karel Havlíček told Czech Radio (CRo) today.

The engine driver is the only victim of the Tuesday night collision, in which 35 passengers suffered injuries, four of them serious.

More than 100 passengers were on the CityElefant train that left Prague at 21:00.

Havlíček told journalists during the night that the 40-year-old engine driver was experienced and not overworked as he was on holiday last week.

Český drahy railway operator’s board head Václav Nebeský confirmed that the engine driver was experienced. He said the man had driven trains for ten years.

Havlíček said it is investigated why the passenger train crashed into the freight train. The computer in the front part of the train was probably destroyed and information that would explain the crash might be found in the rear part of the train, he said.

He said the system on this railway is one of the safest in the country. There is a vigilance button that the engine driver must press every 10 to 20 seconds. If the train passes a red signal, a signalling sound is heard and the train stops, but it can start moving again.

Havlíček said it is unclear why the trains collided and why the train probably started to move again. He said the health condition of the driver at the moment might have been the reason of the crash.

Train traffic on the railway started this late morning again, but it is still limited and some trains use a different railway to move between Kolin and Prague, railway administration spokesman Marek Illias told CTK.

The railway inspection authority estimated the damage caused by the collision at 45 million crowns.

Firefighters managed to separate the two trains. The first attempt to do so with two locomotives failed this early morning and so two more locomotives arrived at the place and the second attempt was successful, Central Bohemian firefighters spokesman Petr Svoboda said.