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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Rail worker jailed over crash that killed 12 in Germany

Rescue teams work at the site where two trains collided near Bad Aibling, Germany (AP)
Rescue teams work at the site where two trains collided near Bad Aibling, Germany (AP)

A train dispatcher has been convicted of negligent homicide and bodily harm over his role in the fatal collision of two commuter trains in southern Germany earlier this year.

He has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison over the incident, which left 12 people dead and nearly 90 injured.

The dispatcher, identified only as Michael P in line with German privacy laws, has admitted playing a game on his phone shortly before the two trains he was in charge of collided on a single-track line on February 9 near Bad Aibling, about 40 miles south-east of Munich.

He then set signals incorrectly and hit the wrong button while trying to alert the train drivers.

"His thoughts were fixated on this game," presiding Judge Erich Fuchs said as he delivered the ruling at the state court in Traunstein, news agency dpa reported. "He had no resources left over for operational procedures."

Judge Fuchs added that the defendant was not a bad person "but first and foremost became a victim of his own passion for games".

Prosecutors sought a four-year sentence, while the defence called for two years at most.

The court cited as an aggravating factor the fact that the defendant had been playing games during working hours in the weeks running up to the crash, with increasing intensity.

AP

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