After the train accident with two dead near Cologne, the public prosecutor's office is examining whether there is any evidence of criminally relevant third-party negligence. The investigators announced on Friday that a so-called death investigation had been launched.
Such a procedure is common in an unnatural death. According to the public prosecutor's office, there are currently no preliminary proceedings against unknown persons or against a specific person. A central question for the investigators is therefore what was discussed between the participants about the work assignment on site, what safety regulations exist for such assignments and who may have violated them. Parallel to the public prosecutor's office, the Federal Bureau for Railway Accident Investigation (BEU) in Bonn has also started investigating the cause of the accident.
Five other workers were not physically injured
An Intercity (IC) hit two workers near Hürth near Cologne on Thursday morning. The two men, aged 27 and 31, died at the scene of the accident. As a railway spokesman announced, cable construction work was planned on the daily construction site. Basically, according to Bahn, an individual safety plan adapted to the local conditions is drawn up for each construction measure. Of course, this also applies to day construction sites. The construction site teams are therefore protected by technical security measures such as automatic warning systems or by human security guards who warn the team directly in the event of danger.
As a spokesman for the Union of German Train Drivers (GDL) explained, construction sites are always reported to DB Netz and the train drivers are informed about construction work on the track. For example, slower driving or "driving on sight" will be ordered for them. The train drivers would get the information when they left the train station, for example, or through a "stop signal".
The construction crew included five other workers who saw the deaths of their colleagues and suffered shock. They were not hit by the train, they remained physically unharmed. Deutsche Bahn has a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevention program for cases where a train runs over people. According to a railway spokesman, the driver of the accident IC had to seek medical treatment. It was said that he would be looked after by his managers and, if necessary, by psychologists.
According to Deutsche Bahn, the topic is already treated as a preventive measure during training. In the event of an accident, the employees affected are cared for directly on site. Train drivers are relieved by colleagues in the event of an accident and accompanied home. They remain off duty until their stress reactions have subsided. According to Bahn, if a train driver is permanently unfit to drive due to the consequences of traumatization and despite therapy, he can switch to another job within the company. Around 20 train drivers are affected each year.