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

A fatal accident inquiry is to be held into the death of a pedestrian who was hit by a tram more than five years ago.

Bus driver Carlos Hernan Correa Palacio, 53, died after he was struck by a tram in the Saughton area of Edinburgh on September 11, 2018 while making his way home from work.

Edinburgh Trams Limited was fined £240,000 last August after admitting a breach of health and safety legislation over the incident in a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the Crown Office said.

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 the death.

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.”

An Edinburgh tram
Carlos Correa was hit by a tram in Edinburgh in September 2018 (PA)

Following the court hearing last August, the Crown Office said there were no issues with the tram driver’s driving and the tram was in working order.

It said the criminal investigation found Edinburgh Trams Limited (ETL) had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the layout of the crossing, and to ensure that it provided sufficient notice and warning to pedestrians of the crossing itself.

Prosecutors said the company failed to assess the loudness of audible warning devices on Edinburgh trams, or the emergency braking distances of trams approaching the crossing in order to identify and implement adequate control measures to address these hazards.

They also said a near-miss incident at the same crossing in November 2016 was reported but failed to result in any action in relation to the risk assessment.

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

The inquiry will explore the circumstances of Mr Correa’s death, with an anticipated focus on the process of risk assessment and safety management at ETL in addition to issues surrounding pedestrian safety at non-motorised user crossings and an assessment of the audibility of warning systems fitted to ETL trams.

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.

The purpose of an FAI includes determining the cause of death, the circumstances in which the deaths 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.