Judge orders train driver in Montenegro crash be detained for month

A judge on Thursday ordered the train driver in a Montenegro crash that killed 44 people be detained for a month while investigators complete their work. Investigative Judge Zoran Radovic said the driver, who hospitalized but remained under police guard, had not been officially charged yet.

At least 300 passengers, many of them schoolchildren returning from a ski trip, were believed to have been on the train traveling Monday from Montenegro's mountainous north to the coastal city of Bar, when it ran out of control.

As the train came out of the tunnel over the Moraca River canyon near Bioce, a village some 15 kilometers (nine miles) north of Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital, it derailed and plunged into a 100 meter-(330 foot-) deep ravine.

Preliminary investigations indicated the train driver had stopped the train but may have failed to lock the brakes after leaving his seat to make an unspecified repair as the train slowed ahead of the tunnel. That set the train in motion without him in the driver's seat and toward its deadly plunge.

Meanwhile, 138 of the injured remained in hospital Thursday, 12 of them in critical condition, while 60 injured were released. Five children were among the killed and 32 among the injured.

The crash, the worst train accident in Montenegro and one of the deadliest in Europe in past 30 years, had brought the tiny Balkan republic of 600,000 to a standstill and a three-day mourning period was being observed, reports the AP. I.L.

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