When two trains collided in Greece, 36 people were killed and eight dozen were injured

When two trains collided in Greece, 36 people were killed and eight dozen were injured

During the collision of two trains in Greece, 36 people died, eight dozen were injured ;ch

Train collision near the Greek city of Larisa, March 1, 2023.

Athens – At least 36 people died and eight dozen others were injured when two trains collided at night in Greece. Over sixty people are in hospital, six of them in intensive care units. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not yet have information that Czech citizens were among the victims or injured. But firefighters are still searching the wreckage of the trains. It is the most tragic railway accident in Greece in several decades. The Greek government has declared three days of national mourning from today, President Katerina Sakellaropoulos will return early from her visit to Moldova due to the tragedy. The Hellenic Train company, which operates the passenger train involved in today's collision, announced the suspension of all its services for today from 12:00 local time, canceling some shortly after the accident, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

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When two trains collided in Greece, 36 people died, eight dozen were injured

During the collision of two trains in Greece, 36 people died, eight dozen were injured

36 people died when two trains collided in Greece, eight dozen are injured

During the collision of two trains in Greece, 36 people died, eight dozen were injured

The accident happened near the city of Larisa in the central part of the country, where shortly before midnight CET, a passenger train heading from Athens to Thessaloniki collided at high speed with a freight train traveling from Thessaloniki to Larisa. Several wagons derailed and at least three caught fire. Many passengers suffered burns. According to local media, there were many students among the passengers.

There were 342 passengers and 10 crew members on the passenger train, and two people on the freight train, Kathimerini newspaper reported. A spokesman for the fire department said earlier that 194 passengers were taken safely by bus to Thessaloniki and 20 to Larisa. hip,” described 28-year-old passenger Sterjos Minenis. Then panic and chaos broke out, he said. “Fire, hanging cables, broken windows, people screaming, people trapped,” Minenis said.

“The evacuation of passengers is taking place in very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision between the two trains,” said Vasilis Varthakoyannis, the spokesman for the fire department. Firefighters said they were notified of the accident shortly before midnight Tuesday local time (around 11 p.m. CET). Skai broadcast the footagederailed and badly damaged wagons. Rescue workers with flashlights on their foreheads pulled pieces of metal from the cars in the thick smoke to search for trapped people, the AP reported. According to the BBC, around 150 firefighters and 40 ambulances were on the scene. The army is helping with the rescue work.

The cause of the accident is not yet known. According to Greek media, the police have questioned two railway employees, but have not arrested anyone yet. Greece's ERT television quoted the head of the train drivers' association as saying that the electronic system to warn them of danger has not been working for years. “Nothing works, everything is done manually. We are in 'manual mode' on the Athens-Thessalonica line,” said the head of the train drivers' association.

Reuters also reported that Greece's railway system is in need of modernisation, with many services running on monorail and many places still lacking signaling and automatic control systems.

Hellenic Train is the largest railway operator in Greece, as passenger and freight. Since 2017, its owner has been the company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, i.e. the Italian national carrier.

Foreign Minister Thanos Plevris visited the wounded in hospitals, AMNA agency reported. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also scheduled to arrive at the site today. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also expressed her condolences to the bereaved. “My thoughts are with the Greek people after this terrible train accident that claimed so many lives last night in Larissa. All of Europe mourns with you. I also wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” the head of the EC wrote on Twitter.

A tragic accident in Greece also happened in 1972, when 19 people died in a head-on collision between two trains also near Larisa.