The fatal pileup on northern Greece’s Egnatia motorway has taken the lives of five people. More than 30 remain in critical condition, including two children aged 18 and 16 months. Images from the wreck have shocked Greece and raised alarming questions. What caused the tragedy? How did a truck weighing nearly 30 tonnes manage to fall onto 30 parked cars?
A 39-year-old Romanian truck driver has been accused of causing the accident. He will appear before a prosecutor in northern Greece on Monday. Yet many blame ongoing construction works and dangerous driving conditions for the deadly accident.
The driver claimed that he lost the control of the heavy vehicle. He said that the brakes had inexplicably stopped working. Eyewitnesses also claim that, as the truck fell over the parked cars, it never appeared to reduce speed.
According to the Greek police, it is also possible that the truck driver fell asleep while driving or was distracted and didn’t have time to react.
According to eyewitnesses, there were no signs or emergency vehicles in the immediate vicinity to warn commuters that circulation had stopped. There were no traffic police on scene. Meanwhile, men holding flags prompting drivers to slow down were placed too near the road works to allow the truck driver to stop in time.
The part of the motorway where the accident occurred is considered highly dangerous. It falls on a downward slope which is largely invisible owing to a line of trees on the right side of the road.