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Merano train crash investigators seek month-long extension

Investigators looking at the cause of a debris slide which caused a fatal train crash in Italy in April were this week seeking a 30 day extension on their deadline.

The request had been filed because it has taken longer than expected to review the evidence and collate expert opinions surrounding the events that led to the crash near the town of Merano, which killed nine people.

The investigation team is being headed up by University of Padua geoscientist professor Rinaldo Genevois, Vincenzo Bixio, also from the University of Padua, and professor Alberto Mazzucato from Venice’s University Iuav.

A burst water pipe on the slope is thought to have saturated the ground before the collapse. However, investigators were this week set to look closer at the possible events leading to the debris slide by attempting to re-create vibrations on the slope caused by a passing train and evaluating the water flow on the ground.

“The train [which crashed] may have caused disruption to soil already saturated by the burst water pipe” said Genevois.

Investigators now believe the volume of water that caused debris slide to be in the region of 200m3 – down from previous estimates of between 300m3 and 400m3. The team calculated the volume by performing a laser scan of the slope and comparing the results with data on its appearance before the accident.

The team expects to file the report with Province of Bolzano prosecutors in a month.

“Investigations are progressing satisfactorily,” added Genevois.

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