Five Pothuhera railway employees interdicted over the rail tragedy

by Norman Palihawadana

Five employees attached to Pothuhera railway station were interdicted following the head-on collision of two trains in close proximity to the station on Wednesday morning.

They had been tasked with changing tracks, Pothuhera police said, adding that the driver of the Deyata Kirula train was not responsible for the tragedy.

The driver of the ill-fated Pallai bound Deyata Kirula train said that on seeing the other train on the same track he had applied brakes, which failed to function.

The Deyata Kirula intercity power set from Colombo crashed into the stationary Matara bound Rajarata Rejina express train from Vavuniya, injuring 45 passengers of whom five are in a critical condition being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Kurunegala hospital.

Those who received minor injuries were treated at Pothuhera and Kurunegala hospitals and discharged.

The driver of the Deyata Kirula train is being treated at the National Hospital. Among the injured were 14 men, 25 females and six children.

Hospital sources said as at yesterday morning 40 injured passengers were being treated at Pothuhera, Kurunegala and the National Hospitals.

Some of the victims expressed regret about those who rushed to the scene being too busy photographing or videoing the aftermath with their mobile phones rather than helping to rush them to hospitals.

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