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B92: Train wreck death toll confirmed at 44

Published date: 25.01.2006 16:11 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Train wreck death toll confirmed at 44 |

PODGORICA -- Tuesday There are at least 45 confirmed casualties resulting from yesterdays train derailment in Montenegro, including five children.

Among the dead are six children and a total of 198 people were injured in the accident. Montenegrin Police Force Director, Veselin Veljovic said that the police currently have not received any reports of missing persons, adding that family members of four individuals had filed missing persons reports, but all four individuals were later confirmed as casualties in the crash.

Fifty travellers sustained serious injuries when the train derailed in Bioce, near Podgorica, and descended into a 50-metre ditch. According to one of the survivors, the trains brakes failed, which made it increase speed at an unusual rate and derail after exiting a tunnel.

Most of the injured passengers are currently receiving treatment at the Podgorica Clinical Centre, and 14 individuals are currently in intensive care. Centre Director Miodrag Djurovic has not released the names of the deceased as of yet, and reports state that the names will be announced later today.

B92s Podgorica correspondent Srdjan Jankovic said that a three-day period of mourning has been announced in Montenegro and the media will respond accordingly. The scene remains crowded outside of the Clinical Centre with family members waiting to here about the conditions of their loved ones who were aboard the train. Investigative Judge of the Podgorica Primary Court, Zoran Radovic, said that the engineer who was operating the locomotive, Slobodan Drobnjak, has been arrested and will most likely have charges pressed against him.

Rescue teams continue to search the scene today, paying most of there attention to looking under the wagons which had flipped over and fallen into the ditch. The work of the rescue teams is being made difficult by the rough terrain and freezing winds.

The Montenegrin Government called an extraordinary meeting today at which the three-day morning period was announced and Traffic and Navigation Minister Andrije Lompar resigned.

I resigned at the Government meeting. I am sorry that this occurred while I was in office, but I feel that if such a tragedy happens in a ministers field, he or she must feel responsible. Lompar said.

Montenegrin Railways Director Ranko Medenica resigned as well, and stated immediately after the accident that it was caused by faulty brake systems on the train.

According to initial and unofficial information, we assumed that there was a problem with the brake system, and that the train sped up so quickly that it was unable to stop, and that the characteristics of the rails and route had a lot to do with it as well. The Railway team and its experts will look into the case and what led to the accident. Medenica said.

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic said that the accident represents the greatest tragedy that could have happened to the state, and Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said that the rescue workers, police and military officials are doing everything they can to help.

The tragedy is great, and is one a most tragic event for Montenegro. I think that everyone reacted very quickly and that everything possible was done to help and the services in that moment functioned as if they were preparing for the accident. Djukanovic said.

United States expresses condolences for Bioce victims

The Embassy of the United States in Serbia and Montenegro expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the tragic train accident in Bioce, Montenegro. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they mourn their loss.
The U.S. Consulate in Podgorica is in contact with the authorities in Montenegro regarding the rescue and relief efforts.