By Anush Dashtents
The management of the Yerevan metro claimed on Monday that one of its train drivers found dead in the metro tunnel the previous day was killed by electric shock after he inadvertently stepped on “contact rails” transmitting high voltage power. An inquiry conducted by the underground transport authorities concluded that the 57-year-old Vigen Simonian breached safety regulations when he left his train which came to a halt midway between two stations.
Simonian was said to have jumped off the cabin to find out why the passenger train could not be pulled away by another train dispatched by the metro administration to deal with the problem. Simonian, who had worked at the Yerevan subway ever since its launch in 1981, had a record of several security violations, according to his superiors.
The deputy director of the metro, Sergey Chakhoyan, said all contingency plans designed for emergency situations strictly require drivers to stay at controls. Asked about reasons for the unexpected stoppage of the train, he suggested that Simonian may have “accidentally” activated emergency brakes.
But according to the preliminary conclusion drawn by city prosecutors investigating the incident, the train stopped due to an electricity supply failure. The prosecutors argue that the metro rails are fed from several different transmission lines where power cuts are not uncommon.
Meanwhile, the metro administration is considering imposing age limits on persons running its vehicles, a measure which it says could lessen the likelihood of similar accidents.