A second investigation committee has also held the driver, his assistant and the guard of Turna Nishita Express responsible for the fatal train accident in Brahmanbaria, that left 18 passengers dead and many others injured.
“Violation of signals caused the accident and we found them responsible,” a member of the probe committee, led by Additional Secretary Rafiqul Islam of the railways ministry, told The Daily Star yesterday.
“The driver told us that when the train reached near the home signal [just outside Mandobagh Railway Station in Kasba], he realised that he had crossed the outer signal [640 yards behind the home signal],” the committee member said, wishing anonymity.
The driver then applied the brakes, but it was too late, he added.
Asked whether the driver and his assistant had dozed off, the official said they could not confirm it as there was no CCTV camera inside the cabin. The three didn’t admit it either.
The four-member committee, formed by the railways ministry, submitted the report to the ministry on Sunday with several recommendations on stopping recurrence of such accidents, he said.
Earlier, another five-member committee, led by Nasir Uddin, divisional transport officer (Chattogram), also found the driver, his assistant and the guard responsible for the accident.
Soon after the accident, Bangladesh Railway suspended Turna Nishita driver Taser Uddin, his assistant Apu Dey and guard Abdur Rahman over violating signals.
The accident occurred early on November 12 when the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishita rammed Chattogram-bound Udayan Express at Mandobagh Railway Station in Kasba. At least 18 passengers died in the accident. Of them, two died of their injuries on Saturday and Sunday.
A top railway official, who has knowledge about the ongoing investigations, said a train driver has to follow a caution board which stands 440 yards off the outer signal on a single-track line.
After coming across the caution board, the driver will see the outer signal. The caution board and the outer signal are 440 yards apart. If the driver finds the outer signal green, he will go ahead and see the home signal.
“In case of the Kasba accident, the investigators found that both the outer and home signals were red, meaning the driver had to stop before the outer signal, but he didn’t,” the official said wishing anonymity.
The average permissible speed limit on the track was around 70 km/h, but the Turna Nishita was running at around 25 km/h when the accident occurred, meaning the driver had applied on the brakes, but it was too late, he added.
MINISTER TO DISCLOSE PROBE FINDINGS
Talking to The Daily Star, Railways Secretary Mofazzel Hossain yesterday said the railways ministry received reports from two probe committees.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan would brief the media on Wednesday about the probe findings, he said.
Another four-member investigation committee, headed by Chief Operating Superintendent (East) Nazmul Islam, is expected to submit its report today, BR Director General Md Shamsuzzaman said.
The probe body, formed by the Brahmanbaria district administration, was supposed to file its report within Sunday.
But the committee, headed by Additional District Magistrate Mitu Mariyam, sought more time as they could not talk to any railway staff involved in the accident yet, the ADM told this correspondent yesterday.
The railways ministry also asked the government railway inspector to probe the incident and submit a report.
TWO MORE DIE
Two people, who were injured in the November 12 train accident, died of their wounds in Dhaka and Sylhet on Saturday and Sunday, raising the death toll to 18.
The victims were identified as Tara Horizon, 45, of Maizdi Horizon Colony in Noakhali and Dholai Miah, 65, of Bublakhal area in Habiganj.
Tara died at Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka on Saturday, the BR DG said.
Dholai Miah died at the ICU of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital on Sunday, reports our Sylhet correspondent.
Besides, 24 other injured were still undergoing treatment at different hospitals.