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Court acquits all defendants in rail accident

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Novy Jicin, North Moravia, Dec 7 (CTK) – A court acquitted on Thursday all ten people charged with endangering the safety of the public due to the rail accident in Studenka in 2008 with eight fatalities and 95 injuries.

If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to up to six years in prison.

The accident occurred on August 8, 2008 when the international express train Comenius running from Cracow, Poland, crashed into a part of a reconstructed road bridge that fell down just before the passing train.

Six people died instantly and another two later. In all, 95 passengers were injured, nine of whom seriously, with a life-long impact.

The verdict has not taken effect as the state attorney appealed it instantly.

Three employees of the major supplier of the construction project, ODS – Dopravni stavby Ostrava (now Eurovia), five employees of the subcontractor Bogl & Krysl, an employee of the Moravia-Silesia Road Administration, who was to supervise the project, and a man working for the subcontractor were facing the charges.

“In order to declare the defendants guilty, we would have to know why the bridge fell,” judge Jaromir Psenica said.

“We can only think of it, but we do not know this. Real experts have only presented surmises. It is still unclear what happened,” he added.

Psenica dismissed the argument of one of the experts that a large set of errors had caused the fall of the bridge.

“We have to define the errors, we cannot put it so generally,” he added.

Nadezda Tomcikova, chairwoman of the civic group Comenius 2008, who was one of the passengers of the train in question and as a nurse she was one of the first to have helped the injured, told Czech Television (CT) she was embarrassed at the verdict.

“There were so many errors and suddenly there is no guilt. It is like in a madhouse,” Tomcikova told CT.

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