Rome, Aug 31 (EFE).- Five railway maintenance workers in Italy were killed Thursday morning after they were hit by a train on the outskirts of the northern city of Turin.
The train was traveling at 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour when the accident occurred, local media reported.
The five deceased were men between the ages of 22 and 52.
The impact was so severe that it dragged the bodies several hundred meters, while two other workers managed to dodge the train. They were being monitored at a local hospital.
The railway police and the Carabinieri (armed police) in Chivasso were working at the scene of the accident.
Prosecutors were analyzing surveillance camera images to try to reconstruct the incident and the train driver, who was also unhurt and is in shock, is likely to testify in the next few hours, according to the same sources.
“It is a great tragedy,” the mayor of Brandizzo, Paolo Bodoni, told reporters.
The Italian Railway Network (Rfi) expressed “its deep regret for what happened” in a statement, in which it explained that “maintenance work was being carried out by an external contractor” and that “a train that was not in commercial service ran over some workers.”
“The dynamics of what happened are being examined by the competent authorities and the Italian railway network,” it added.
Later on Thursday, Italy’s transport minister Matteo Salvini blamed “human error” for the accident.
“Dying at night on a track is not acceptable in 2023,” Salvini said, adding that “the public prosecutor’s office is investigating.”
“The law stipulates that no work can be carried out on the tracks without a certificate that traffic is suspended. It is obviously up to the prosecutor’s office to find out what they were doing there, although it certainly seems to be human error,” the minister added.
Italy’s main unions have called a 4-hour railway workers strike for Friday, while the USB union has already called for a 24-hour national strike starting at 3:30pm to demand that “those who endanger the lives of workers pay for their crime with severe penalties.”
The accident has shocked the country, with president Sergio Mattarella expressing his “pain” because “to die at work is an outrage to the values of coexistence.” EFE