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Buizingen rail disaster commemorated on 10th anniversary

09:08 17/02/2020

Victims' relatives and local representatives gathered in Buizingen, near Brussels, on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of Belgium's worst rail disaster in half a century.

Nineteen people were killed and 162 were injured - 11 seriously - when a suburban train collided head-on with an intercity train in the morning rush hour on 15 February 2010.

Last year, a Brussels court ruled that the driver of the Leuven to Braine-le-Comte stopping train who ran a red signal was partly responsible.

But the judge also found the SNCB and track operator Infrabel equally responsible for the disaster. Both organsiations were fined €550,000.

A spokesman for the victims said the recent court ruling was a relief for many - but Infrabel's decision to appeal was "a real knife-blow in the heart for us".

"We still remember the fear and despair that struck us that day," the spokesman said. "Our daily lives have since been turned upside down.

"We were hoping that those who stood trial would recognise their mistakes and accept the verdict, with dignity and respect for the victims.

"The public prosecutor and the judge listened to us, the SNCB and the train driver accepted the judgment."

Lodewijk De Witte, governor of Flemish Brabant, said in a speech: "15 February 2010 will remain deeply etched in our memories. We are here for the victims and their families. Nothing and no one can ever compensate for their suffering."

Written by The Bulletin