Bulgaria’s Hitrino gas blast train was travelling at 78 km/h in 40km/h zone – prosecutors

The gas tank transport train that was the centre of a fatal explosion in the Bulgarian village of Hitrino on December 10 was travelling at 78km/h at the time of the crash, at a place where the speed limit was 40km/h, prosecutors said on December 19.

The drivers of the train were on December 19 taken from the clinic in Rousse where they were being treated to be questioned at the investigation office in the city, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said.

The December 10 train crash resulted in an explosion that left seven people dead, close to 30 injured and that caused widespread property damage.

Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General said last week that speeding was the leading suspected cause of the disaster.

Meanwhile, an attempt to drain the most dangerous of the gas tanks remaining at the blast site was to be made on December 20, Bulgarian National Radio said.

If the attempt is successful, the gradual return of residents to the village will begin the same day.

Hitrino residents were evacuated on December 10.

On December 19, officials who attended a meeting with Hitrino residents said that surveys of air, water and soil in the area of the explosion had found levels to be normal.

The meeting with the community lasted about an hour and was closed to the media.

Hitrino mayor Nuredin Basri said that the decision was to allow people to go to their houses on the first day, accompanied by police and municipal officials, to recover valuables.

On the next day, people would be asked what kind of help they needed, and volunteers would be allowed to enter the village, on a controlled basis, “so that there is no chaos,” Basri said.

(Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry)




The Sofia Globe staff

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