Level crossing attendant fired after drunken incident

On June 11 Latvian Railways fired an employee who on June 10 was so drunk during his shift as a level crossing attendant that he passed out, failing to open up the crossing on Rīga's Krustabaznīcas street where he was working.

While crossings close automatically in Latvia, some still have to be manually opened by an attendant. This means drivers and pedestrians weren't endangered, just very annoyed by the attendant's behavior.

The news of broke out after drivers spent minutes waiting for barriers to lift after a train had passed. One of them, Gatis Ankalniņš, got the whole thing on video. It shows the attendant passed out on the floor. 

"It was evident he had been drinking. We checked the pulse and his breathing. I told a woman to call the ambulance, and I called the police," Ankalniņš told LTV. 

Latvian Railways representative Dainis Zvaners confirmed to LTV that the man has been fired. 

The company said it would enforce alcohol tests and introduce 37 automatic breathalyzers by year-end to check whether attendants were intoxicated at the start and finish of their shift. 

Barriers across Latvia's level crossings close automatically, 40 to 60 seconds before the arrival of a train. Out of Rīga's 24 crossings, sixteen close automatically, but some don't. 

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