Fatal accident inquiry to be held into death of pedestrian hit by Edinburgh tram

A fatal accident inquiry is to be held into the death of a pedestrian who was hit by an Edinburgh tram on his way home from work.

Bus driver Carlos Hernan Correa Palacio, 53, died after he was struck at a crossing in the Saughton area of the capital on 11 September 2018.

Edinburgh Trams Limited (ETL) was fined £240,000 last year after admitting a breach of health and safety legislation over the incident in a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The court heard how the driver sounded his bell a number of times and began to slow the tram down when he spotted Mr Correa.

He applied the emergency brake, which also set off the tram's warning horn, but Mr Correa was killed.

The Crown Office said there were no issues with the tram driver and he had responded to the situation in accordance with his training.

The tram was in working order and the braking system functional.

Prosecutors said there had been no assessment of a foreseeable risk to pedestrians at the Saughton Mains crossing from an approaching tram prior to the incident, despite a near miss in November 2016.

ETL failed to carry out a sufficient risk assessment of the layout of the crossing, and to ensure it provided sufficient notice and warning to pedestrians, the court heard.

The company also failed to assess the loudness of audible warning devices, or the emergency braking distances of trams approaching the crossing.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has now lodged a first notice to begin the court process for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into Mr Correa's death.

The purpose of an FAI includes determining the cause of death, the circumstances in which the death occurred, and establishing what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

The FAI will explore the circumstances of Mr Correa's death, with a focus on the process of risk assessment and safety management at ETL.

Issues surrounding pedestrian safety at non-motorised user (NMU) crossings and an assessment of the audibility of warning systems fitted to ETL trams will also be looked at.

The inquiry is also expected to consider the structure for oversight and information sharing within the tram sector, including among regulators, operators, and other interested parties.

Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.

Read more from Sky News:
Inquiry to be held into death of serial killer
Inquiry to be held into death of baby at hospital

Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said: "The tragic death of Carlos Correa occurred in circumstances giving rise to significant public concern and as such a discretionary fatal accident inquiry will be held.

"The lodging of the first notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the sheriff.

"Mr Correa's family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress."

A preliminary hearing will take place on 31 May at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.