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Charles commends first responders for bravery on train crash site visit

UK News | Published:

Three people died when the passenger service derailed in Aberdeenshire on Wednesday amid heavy rain and landslips.

Charles visits crash scene

The Prince of Wales thanked emergency responders for their bravery as he visited the site of the fatal Aberdeenshire train crash.

Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay while in Scotland, visited the site and surveyed the wreckage from a hillside above.

Three people died on Wednesday when the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street ScotRail service crashed near Stonehaven during heavy rain.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has confirmed the train struck a landslip and derailed.

After coming off the tracks it continued travelling in roughly a straight line for around 90 metres before hitting and destroying a barrier on the edge of a bridge, leading the front power car and one carriage to fall down an embankment.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said in a statement the control centre was alerted to the fatal derailment in Aberdeenshire in under 10 minutes.

Charles met emergency responders including Pc Liam Mercer and Pc Eilidh McCabe, who were the first officers on the scene, and commended them on their bravery.

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He was taken to a socially distanced circle of workers including members of the police, fire service, Coastguard and Network Rail.

Train derailed at Stonehaven
The Prince of Wales meets Pc Eilidh McCabe, right, and Pc Liam Mercer, second from right, the first two police officers who attended the scene (Ben Birchall/PA)

Many spoke of their experiences dealing with the incident and the sight of burning carriages.

Driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62, all lost their lives in the incident.

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It is understood all of those who died were local to the area.

Donald Dinnie and Christopher Stuchbury
Donald Dinnie and Christopher Stuchbury died in the incident (Police Scotland/PA)

Six other people were injured in the crash – four have since left Aberdeen Royal Infirmary while two remain in a stable condition.

Speaking as Charles visited the site, Police Scotland Chief Inspector Kevin Walker said: “The visit by His Royal Highness the Duke of Rothesay was very much appreciated by everyone here today and they were grateful for the genuine interest he showed in hearing about their experiences.

“Those who attended faced a complex scene and performed their roles with professionalism and care, working with partners to assist people at the scene.

“The multi-agency response to Wednesday’s tragic incident was exceptional and the support from the local community has been heart-warming.”

Police Scotland, British Transport Police and rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road are carrying out an investigation separate to the RAIB inquiry.

Network Rail is inspecting trackside slopes across the country as part of a Government-ordered review following the crash.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said in a statement: “When it came to the accident being notified, it was a matter of minutes, but not immediate.

“We don’t yet have the complete picture but I can say that any suggestion there were hours between the derailment occurring and the control centre being alerted is categorically untrue.

“It was certainly less than 10 minutes, at a time when an awful accident had occurred, fatally injuring both members of the operational train crew, in a remote rural location with poor mobile reception – but not no signal, there was no blackout – and in horrendous weather.”

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