Two trains collide in Greece, at least 32 killed, 85 injured

Athens, March 1 (BNA): Two trains collided head-on in Greece, killing at least 32 people and injuring 85 late Tuesday night, but the cause of Greece’s deadliest railway crash in decades remains unclear, the fire department reported. .

The governor of Thessaly region said that an intercity passenger train traveling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki collided at high speed with a freight train outside the central Greek city of Larissa.

The collision caused a fire to break out in a number of passenger carriages, burning many passengers, who were rushed to hospitals, according to Reuters.

“We heard a big bang, it was horrible 10 seconds,” said Stergios Mennes, a 28-year-old passenger who jumped to safety from the wreckage.

“We were tossing in the wagon until we fell on our side… Then there was panic, cables everywhere, the flames were instantaneous, as we were turning we were burning, the fire was right and left.”

The governor of Thessaly region Konstantinos Agorastos told Skai TV that the first four carriages of the passenger train were derailed in the accident, while the first two carriages “almost completely destroyed” caught fire.

He said the two trains were hurtling toward each other on the same track.

“They were traveling so fast that one of the drivers didn’t know the other was coming,” the governor said.

About 250 passengers were evacuated safely to Thessaloniki in buses. A passenger told the state ERT station that he managed to escape after breaking a train window with his suitcase.

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“There was panic in the carriage, people were screaming,” a young man who was evacuated to a nearby bridge told Sky TV.

“It was like an earthquake,” Angelos Tsiamuras, another passenger, told ERT.

Broadcasting Corporation (Sky) showed footage of derailed vehicles badly damaged by broken windows and thick plumes of smoke, as well as debris strewn across the road. Rescue workers were seen carrying torches into wagons, searching for the trapped passengers.

“The evacuation of the passengers is taking place in very difficult circumstances, given the seriousness of the collision of the two trains,” said Vassilis Varthakogiannis, a spokesman for the fire brigade, in a televised speech.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, footage from state broadcaster ERT showed rescue workers flashing headlights as they searched the wreckage and surrounding fields for survivors.

One of the volunteer rescue workers told ERT, “We are living through a tragedy. We are coming out alive and wounded… There are dead people. We are going to stay here all night, until we are done, until we find the last person.” state broadcaster.

Local media reported that about 350 people were traveling on the passenger train that left Athens at around 7:30 pm (0530 GMT). The fire brigade said it was notified of the incident shortly before midnight on Tuesday. A freight train was traveling from Thessaloniki to Larissa.

In 1972, 19 people were killed when two trains collided with the headland outside Larissa.

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Greece’s aging railway system needs updating, with many trains still to be installed on single tracks and signaling and automatic control systems in many areas still to be installed.

Greece sold rail company TRINOSE to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane in 2017 as part of an international bailout programme, and expects to invest hundreds of millions of euros in railway infrastructure in the coming years.

According to the Italian company’s website, it is the main provider of passenger and freight rail transport in Greece and operates 342 passenger and commercial routes per day.


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