Passenger dies on train after allegedly being told air conditioning was ‘too expensive’

DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

A passenger on the same train service Vilnius-Klaipėda says the heat in the train was “like in a bathhouse”.

“I asked the attendants to turn on ventilation and they said it was too expensive and their management didn’t let them do it,” Marius Skripkiūnas told LNK news programme. He said the windows in the car were sealed and he could not open them. The temperature inside the train car was “36 degrees or more”.

He says that one passenger in his 50s suddenly felt unwell. “I heard a rattling sound, I turned round and I saw him lying on the floor and convulsing,” Skripkiūnas said.

Two other passengers performed a CPR on the man and he recovered at first, but soon felt unwell again.

The train stopped near Jonava, about 100 km from Vilnius, and the man was taken to a hospital in Kėdainiai.

The patient arrived in the hospital unconscious and clinically dead, says Stasys Skauminas, chief of Kėdainiai Hospital. He adds that the probable cause of death was heart attack and that extreme heat could have precipitated the condition.

“Heat is often a factor, especially for people with blood circulation conditions,” Skauminas told LNK, stressing that he could not say for sure what was the cause of death without further tests.

The railway company says it is investigating the incident, but rejects the blame for the man’s death.

“We are questioning witnesses, but so far we see no fault in our employees’ actions or equipment,” said Dalijus Žebrauskas, deputy director for passenger transportation at Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways“, a state-owned company.

He said he was informed by an attendant on that train that air conditioning was on when the train left the station in Vilnius, but a passenger with small children later complained of chill and asked to turn it off, which the attendant did after consulting with other passengers.

Žebrauskas added, however, that the company sometimes used old-stock train cars during peak times, not all of which were equipped with ventilation or air conditioning systems. Temperature inside the train during the trip was 21 degrees, he said.

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