A train collision in Greece has left at least 36 dead and dozens injured. A passenger train and a cargo train were involved in the fatal head-on crash at Tempi near the city of Larissa in Central Greece resulting in the deadliest rail tragedy in Greece.
Survivors said several passengers were thrown through the windows of the train cars due to the impact. They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train buckled, slamming into a field next to the tracks.
A fire erupted after the collision.
Hospital officials in Larissa said at least 25 people of the 66 that were hospitalized had serious injuries. Passengers with minor injuries were transferred by bus to Thessaloniki.
A Red Cross rescuer described the tragic situation he witnessed at the scene of the tragedy.
“In the first three carriages, it was not possible to get too close as there were temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees,” he told Mega TV.
“The situation was tragic, as there were many dead. We found 4 to 5 dead bodies in the fields.”
The rescuer said that among the dead are children and students.
Οι πρώτες εικόνες που έρχονται από τα #Τέμπη είναι τρομακτικές.
Υπάρχουν αναφορές για σοβαρά τραυματίες, εγκαυματίες και εγκλωβισμένους, ενώ εκφράζονται φόβοι ακόμη και για νεκρούς.
(Vid fb Lazos Papazisis)#ΟΣΕ pic.twitter.com/14nZF1zSyl
— Chris Avramidis (@chris_avramidis) February 28, 2023
Train collision in Greece: Passengers were crying
“What I saw as soon as I got out of the carriage was incredible, tragic. I saw flames everywhere, pieces of metal from the wagons had melted and many of our people lost their lives, they didn’t have time to get out,” a survivor who arrived by bus in Thessaloniki told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA).
“Many passengers did not realize what exactly had happened because they were asleep. I was also sleeping and I was disturbed by the sudden braking of the train,” he added.
“Women were crying, shouting and luckily someone managed to open the door and we got out as there was a lot of smoke. They tried to get close to the first wagons and they were all a mass,” said another passenger.
A passenger describes how they smashed the windows of the train to get out:
Eleni Karadiamantis, hugged her daughter with relief as soon as she got off the bus. “I was trying to contact her and I couldn’t, she had lost her mobile phone. Fortunately, a colleague was with her and helped her out of the wagon. I still can’t get over it, it’s really tragic what happened,” she stressed.
Causes of the train collision
The possible cause of the collision was not immediately clear. Two rail officials were being questioned by police but had not been detained.
Rail operator Hellenic Train said the northbound passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, had about 350 passengers on board.
The collision occurred at around 11 pm local time on Tuesday.
The president of the train drivers’ association, Kostas Genidounias, revealed that the electronic systems that warn drivers of danger ahead have not been working for years. “The unthinkable has happened. The two trains were found on the same track,” he told public television ERT.
“Nothing works, everything is done manually. We are ‘in manual mode’ throughout the Athens-Thessaloniki network,” he said, emphasizing that neither the indicators, the traffic lights, nor the electronic traffic control is working.
Greece declared a three-day national mourning. It comes into effect from today, March 1st to March 3rd, 2023 with flags flying at half-mast in all public buildings and suspension of public events.
Political parties are also suspending their campaigns for the general election expected to be held in April.
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