Florence, August 3 – Former Italian rail chief Mauro Moretti and the former head of rail network company RFI Michele Elia underestimated “situations of danger” that contributed to a gas-train explosion in the Tuscan town of Viareggio in 2009 that killed 32 people, Lucca judges said in the explanation of their ruling on the case, published on Thursday. Since the disaster was not an “unpredictable” event, Moretti and Elia underestimated “situations of dangers that had persevered in time, originating from structural inadequacies and general planning, as well as company policy choices that should not have escaped” their attention, the judges wrote in their 1,300-page explanation to their sentence on January 31. Moretti and Elia on January 31 were sentenced to seven years each for the June 29, 2009 rail disaster at Viareggio. Prosecutors had requested 16 years for Moretti and 15 for Elia. The defendants including 33 individuals and nine companies were charged with rail disaster, multiple manslaughter, culpable fire and culpable injuries. The disaster occurred when a freight train derailed and the gas it was carrying exploded into a fireball engulfing the station and nearby areas of the coastal Tuscan town.

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