Rescuers comb wreckage of Greece’s deadliest train crash

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to as the collision of the passenger train and a freight train “a horrific rail accident with out precedent in our nation,” and pledged a full, unbiased investigation.

He stated it appeared the crash was “primarily on account of a tragic human error,” however didn’t elaborate.

The train from Athens to Thessaloniki was carrying 350 passengers, many of them college students getting back from raucous Carnival celebrations. Whereas the observe is double, each trains have been touring in reverse instructions on the identical line close to the Vale of Tempe, a river valley about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens.

Authorities arrested the stationmaster on the train’s final cease, within the metropolis of Larissa. They didn’t launch the person’s identify or the explanation for the arrest, however the stationmaster is liable for rail site visitors on that stretch of the tracks. He was on account of seem earlier than a prosecutor Thursday to be formally charged.


Transportation Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying he was stepping down “as a fundamental indication of respect for the reminiscence of the individuals who died so unfairly.”

Karamanlis stated he had made “each effort” to enhance a railway system that had been “in a state that doesn’t befit the twenty first century.”

However, he added, “When one thing this tragic occurs, it’s unimaginable to proceed as if nothing has occurred.”

The union representing train employees introduced a 24-hour strike for Thursday, whereas protests by left-wing teams broke out in Athens late Wednesday. Athens metro employees additionally referred to as a 24-hour strike for Thursday, saying they face comparable issues as railway staff.

Protesters march by Athens to protest the deaths of dozens of folks in Greece’s worst recorded rail accident.
AP Picture/Petros Giannakouris

Emergency employees used cranes and different heavy equipment to maneuver giant items of the trains, revealing extra our bodies and dismembered stays. The operation was to proceed in a single day, with firefighters continuing painstakingly by the wreckage.

“It’s unlikely there can be survivors, however hope dies final,” rescuer Nikos Zygouris stated.

Larissa’s chief coroner, Roubini Leondari, stated 43 our bodies had been delivered to her for examination and would require DNA identification as they have been largely disfigured.

“Most (of the our bodies) are younger folks,” she instructed ERT. “They’re in very unhealthy situation.”

Greece’s firefighting service stated 57 folks remained hospitalized late Wednesday, together with six in intensive care. Greater than 15 others have been discharged after receiving remedy.

Greater than 200 individuals who have been unhurt or suffered minor accidents have been taken by bus to Thessaloniki, 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the north. Police took their names as they arrived, in an effort to trace anybody who could also be lacking.

Hellenic Train, which operates all of Greece’s passenger and cargo trains, together with those who collided, supplied its “heartfelt condolences” to the victims’ households. The corporate belongs to Italy’s state railways.


Eight rail staff have been among the many useless, together with the 2 drivers of the freight train and the 2 drivers of the passenger train, in keeping with Yannis Nitsas, president of the Greek Railroad Staff Union.

The union referred to as the one-day strike to protest what it stated was power neglect of Greece’s railways by successive governments.

“Sadly, our long-standing calls for for employees hirings, higher coaching and above all use of fashionable security expertise all the time find yourself within the wastepaper basket,” it stated in an announcement.

A teenage survivor who didn’t give his identify to reporters stated that simply earlier than the crash he felt sudden braking and noticed sparks — after which there was a sudden cease.

“Our carriage didn’t derail, however the ones in entrance did and have been smashed,” he stated, visibly shaken. He used a bag to interrupt the window of his automobile, the fourth, and escape.

Gogakos stated the crash felt like an explosion, and a few smoke entered the carriage. He stated some passengers escaped by home windows however that after a couple of minutes, crew members have been in a position to open the doorways and let folks out.

A number of automobiles derailed, and at the very least one burst into flames.

“Temperatures reached 1,300 levels Celsius (2,372 levels Fahrenheit), which makes it much more tough to determine the individuals who have been in it,” hearth service spokesperson Vassilis Varthakoyiannis stated.

A person who was attempting to establish the destiny of his daughter, who was on the train, stated he had a harrowing cellphone dialog along with her earlier than she was lower off.

“She instructed me, ‘We’re on hearth. … My hair is burning,’” he instructed ERT, with out giving his identify.

Many of the passengers have been college students returning to Thessaloniki from Carnival, however officers stated however no detailed passenger record was out there. This 12 months was the primary time the competition, which precedes Lent, was celebrated in full because the begin of the pandemic in 2020. The federal government declared three days of nationwide mourning from Wednesday, whereas flags flew at half-staff exterior all European Fee buildings in Brussels.

Visiting the accident scene, Prime Minister Mitsotakis stated the federal government should assist the injured get better and determine the useless.

“I can assure one factor: We are going to discover out the causes of this tragedy, and we’ll do all that’s in our energy in order that one thing like this by no means occurs once more,” Mitsotakis stated.

It was the nation’s deadliest rail crash on report. In 1968, 34 folks died in a crash within the southern Peloponnese area.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou broke off an official go to to Moldova to go to the scene, laying flowers beside the wreckage.

Pope Francis supplied condolences to the households of the useless in a message despatched to the president of the Greek bishops convention by the Vatican’s secretary of state,

Condolences poured in from all over the world, together with neighboring Turkey, Greece’s historic regional rival. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed sorrow and desires for a speedy restoration for these injured, his workplace stated.

Regardless of the frosty relations between the 2 NATO members, Greece’s management had referred to as Erdogan final month following a large earthquake that killed tens of hundreds in Turkey.

In Athens, a number of hundred members of left-wing teams marched late Wednesday to protest the train deaths. Minor clashes broke out as some protesters threw stones on the workplaces of Greece’s rail operator and riot police and set dumpsters on hearth. No arrests or accidents have been reported.

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