Train dispatcher released over deadly crash

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iol news pic poland train smash 13 REUTERS Polish emergency services work at the site of a train crash near the town of Szczekociny. Photo: Reuters

A Polish train dispatcher was released without charge on Tuesday after she was questioned about the weekend train crash that killed 16 people in southern Poland, local media reported.

The woman had been questioned late into the night Monday, but is now considered a witness in the case, Prosecutor Romuald Basinski told station TVN 24. She was in charge at the time of the crash on Saturday night of directing a Warsaw-bound train that collided head-on with a Krakow-bound train going in the opposite direction.

A second dispatcher, who had directed the Krakow-bound train, remains in a psychiatric hospital suffering from shock after the crash. Doctors have so far advised against questioning the man. Initial reports on Monday has suggested both dispatchers were male.

Prosecutors have said they plan to charge the second dispatcher with inadvertently causing the crash, after he mistakenly allowed the train to Krakow onto the wrong tracks. The man faces up to eight years in prison if convicted of causing what was the country's worst rail catastrophe in more than two decades.

The man had allegedly tried to falsify documents to cover up his mistake, TVN 24 reported, citing anonymous sources.

Workers were continuing repairs on the tracks at the site of the crash near the southern town of Szczekociny. Traffic was expected to be back on one of the tracks on Wednesday, and in both directions on Thursday.

Forty-four people remained in hospital with injuries.

Fifteen out of the 16 victims have been identified, and included a Russian woman and American woman. - Sapa-dpa

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