Europe

Station master says delays caused confusion before crash

  • Aerial view , Wednesday, July 13, 2016, of the site of a railway disaster the day after an head-on collision between two trains near Andria, in the southern Italian region of Apulia. Italian officials on Wednesday pointed to delayed, EU-financed rail improvements and the "risky," antiquated telephone alert system used in parts of Italy as possible underlying causes of a violent head-on train crash that killed some two dozen people. (AP Photo/Localteam.it)

    Aerial view , Wednesday, July 13, 2016, of the site of a railway disaster the day after an head-on collision between two trains near Andria, in the southern Italian region of Apulia. Italian officials on Wednesday pointed to delayed, EU-financed rail improvements and the "risky," antiquated telephone alert system used in parts of Italy as possible underlying causes of a violent head-on train crash that killed some two dozen people. (AP Photo/Localteam.it)  (The Associated Press)

  • The wreckage of a carriage lies on a field near the railroad as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Milena di Mauro/ANSA via AP)

    The wreckage of a carriage lies on a field near the railroad as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Milena di Mauro/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • The wreckage of a carriage lies on a field near the railroad as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Gaetano Lo Porto/ANSA via AP)

    The wreckage of a carriage lies on a field near the railroad as recovery operations continued a day after two commuter trains slammed into one another just before noon Tuesday in Puglia, between the towns of Corato and Andria, Italy, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Delayed rail improvements and the antiquated telephone alert system will be considered as part of the investigation into the violent head-on train crash in southern Italy that killed nearly two dozen people, officials said Wednesday. (Gaetano Lo Porto/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Italian media say a station master has acknowledged giving the green light to one of the commuter trains that collided head-on in southern Italy, but protests that he didn't bear sole responsibility for the crash that killed at least 23 people.

The Turin daily La Stampa on Thursday quoted Vito Piccarreta as saying "I let the train depart, I was the one who raised the signal." He was quoted as saying there was confusion along the single-track rail line due to delays. Corriere della Sera quoted him as saying Tuesday's disaster "wasn't only my fault."

The news agency ANSA has identified the two stationmasters as among those under investigation. Prosecutors also are looking at the reasons for delays in adding a second track, despite EU and national funding.