Italy court orders rail chief to stand trial over 2009 explosion

ROME Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:13pm EDT

A rescue worker walks near a rail tanker car lies on its side after a derailment and explosion in Viareggio, about 350 km (220 miles) north of Rome June 30, 2009. REUTERS /Stefano Rellandini

A rescue worker walks near a rail tanker car lies on its side after a derailment and explosion in Viareggio, about 350 km (220 miles) north of Rome June 30, 2009.

Credit: Reuters /Stefano Rellandini

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ROME (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday ordered 33 people, including the head of Italian railways, to stand trial over a 2009 explosion in the town of Viareggio in which 32 people were killed.

The explosion was triggered after an axle buckled on a freight train carrying liquefied petroleum gas, derailing the train as it was passing through the seaside town north of Rome.

Fire spread through nearby streets, destroying entire apartment blocks and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people.

The court in the Tuscan city of Lucca ordered Mauro Moretti, chief executive of state railways Ferrovie dello Stato, to stand trial along with 32 others, among them managers and technicians from other companies including railcar leasing firm GATX.

They face charges including multiple manslaughter and causing injury as well as violating safety regulations.

The trial is expected to begin on November 13.

Ferrovie dello Stato declined to comment on the decision.

(Reporting by Ilaria Polleschi; editing by Andrew Roche)

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