Tempe – At least 36 people were killed and 85 injured in a head-on collision between a passenger and freight train that collapsed, Greek officials said Wednesday.
Before dawn the next day, rescuers searched through the twisting, smoking wreckage looking for survivors. What appeared to be a third carriage lay over the clumped wreckage of his first two.
Several carriages derailed and at least three were set ablaze after two trains collided at high speed just before midnight on Tuesday near the town of Tempe in northern Greece.
Many of the approximately 350 passengers on the passenger train were returning students. noisy carnival in greece, officials said. This year was the first time the three-day festival preceding Lent was celebrated in full since the pandemic began in 2020.
Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga said: “This is a terrible tragedy that is difficult to comprehend. I am sorry to the parents of these children.”
On Wednesday, the government declared three days of nationwide mourning.
“This is a tragedy beyond words,” said government spokesman Yannis Oikonomou, adding that 500 emergency workers were at the crash site.
After sunrise, rescuers turned to heavy machinery and began moving large parts of the train, revealing more dead bodies and dismembered wreckage. Officials said they have contacted the military for assistance.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was scheduled to visit the site later in the day.
Thessaly governor Kostas Agorastos told Greece’s Sky TV that two trains collided head-on at high speed.
“Cars 1 and 2 no longer exist and car 3 has derailed,” he said.
The train crashed just before the Valley of Tempe, the canyon that separates the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.
Survivors said the crash threw several passengers out of the train windows. Others fought to escape after the passenger train buckled and crashed into a field near a gorge about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens.
“There were a lot of large pieces of iron,” said local resident Vasilis Polizos. He was one of the first to appear on the scene. “Both passenger and freight trains were completely destroyed.”
When he arrived, he said, dazed and confused people were fleeing the train’s back carriages.
“Of course people were scared, very scared,” he said. They were looking around and looking. They didn’t know where they were. ”
Eight railway workers, including two freight train drivers and two passenger train drivers, were killed in the accident, said Yannis Nitsas, president of the Hellenic Railways Workers’ Union.
Greece’s fire department said about 66 people were hospitalized, including six in intensive care units.
“The evacuation process is ongoing and is being carried out under very difficult conditions as the collision between the two trains is serious,” said Fire Brigade spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis.
More than 200 people who were unharmed or slightly injured in the crash were taken by bus 130 kilometers (80 miles) north to Thessaloniki. Police named the missing people upon arrival to track them down.
The cause of the clash was not immediately apparent. Two railroad officials were under police questioning but were not detained.
A teenage survivor, who did not give his name to reporters, said he felt a hard brake just before the crash and saw sparks before coming to an abrupt halt.
“Our carriage did not derail, but the carriage in front derailed and was wrecked,” he said, clearly trembling.
He added that the first car caught fire and he used the bag to break the window of the fourth car and escape.
Railway operator Hellenic Trains said about 350 passengers were on board the northbound passenger train to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
Hellenic Train is operated by the Italian FS Group, which operates rail services in several European countries.
Patrick Quinn and David Rising contributed to this article from Bangkok. Gatopoulos reported from Athens.
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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/03/01/head-on-train-crash-in-greece-kills-32-injures-at-least-85/ 36 dead, at least 85 injured as trains collide head-on in Greece