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Larissa Stationmaster to Testify on Sunday – Professor Withdraws from Train Crash Investigation Committee

ATHENS – A stationmaster in the city of Larissa, aged 59, who appeared before a local magistrate on Saturday, was given a one-day extension of deadline until Sunday to prepare his defence testimony, it was reported on Saturday afternoon.

The man’s lawyer, Stefanos Pantzartzidis, told reporters on Saturday that “fresh evidence required a new deadline be set for Sunday.”

The stationmaster was arrested on Wednesday in connection with late Tuesday’s fatal train accident near Tempi, central Greece, which has so far claimed the lives of 57 people and has left scores injured.

The 59-year-old Hellenic Train stationmaster was first led before an examining magistrate on Thursday. Pantzartzidis had then told news media that his client is devastated by the tragedy and that he “assumes his own share of responsibility” for the tragic outcome. “It is important that we do not ‘miss the forest for the trees’,” he had added, “and here, there is a ‘forest’ of responsibilities.”

An Orthodox priest leads the funeral procession of 23-year old Ifigenia Mitska, at Giannitsa town, northern Greece, Saturday, March 4, 2023. Over 50 people — including several university students — died when a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier just before midnight Tuesday. The government has blamed human error and a railway official faces manslaughter charges. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

The man is facing multiple charges including manslaughter through negligence, bodily harm through negligence and dangerous intervention in means of transportation, per article 291 of the Greek penal code.

Prof. Ziliaskopoulos withdraws from newly established train crash investigation committee

Professor Athanasios Ziliaskopoulos on Saturday announced his withdrawal from the new three-member special committee tasked with investigating the causes of the deadly train accident that occurred late on Tuesday in central Greece.

In his statement, Ziliaskopoulos, a Professor of Optimization of Production & Transportation Systems at the University of Thessaly, cited “a series of statements and reports on behalf of political figures concerning my former position as President and CEO of TrainOSE SA.”

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Sotiris Karageorgiou, one of the victims of a train collision, during a funeral procession, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, Saturday, March 4, 2023. More than 50 people — including several university students — died when a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier just before midnight Tuesday. The government has blamed human error and a railway official faces manslaughter charges. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

“Due to the special gravitas of this committee’s work for the whole of Greek society, I would not want my past job to be exploited as an alibi to damage the integrity and impartiality of the committee’s work and conclusions,” he noted.

“I remain at the disposal of the state, to the degree of usefulness allowed by my specialty,” he added.

Ziliaskopoulos is replaced by Christos Pirgidis, Professor in railway engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The committee also includes Vassilios Profillidis, Professor in railway engineering at the Democritus University of Thrace, and it is chaired by Konstantinos Halkias, honorary president of the Legal Council of State.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Sotiris Karageorgiou, one of the victims of a train collision, during a funeral procession, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, Saturday, March 4, 2023. More than 50 people — including several university students — died when a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier just before midnight Tuesday. The government has blamed human error and a railway official faces manslaughter charges. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Mourners follow the funeral procession of 23-year old Ifigenia Mitska, at Giannitsa town, northern Greece, Saturday, March 4, 2023. Over 50 people — including several university students — died when a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier just before midnight Tuesday. The government has blamed human error and a railway official faces manslaughter charges. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

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