Train Accident in Greece: According to the governor of Thessaly, an intercity passenger train traveling from Athens to Thessaloniki collided with a cargo train outside the city of Larissa in central Greece.
At least 32 people were killed and 85 injured when two trains collided in Greece late Tuesday night, the fire brigade said, but the cause was still unclear.
An intercity train from Athens to Thessaloniki collided with a cargo train outside Larissa, the governor of Thessaly said.
The impact caused a fire in a few passenger carriages, burning many commuters.
“We heard a big bang, (it was) 10 nightmarish seconds,” said Stergios Minenis, 28.
In the wagon, we kept turning over until we fell on our sides…then there was panic, cables (everywhere) on fire, the fire was immediate, as we turned over, we were burning.
Thessaly Regional Governor Konstantinos Agorastos told SKAI TV the first four carriages of the passenger train derailed, and the first two carriages caught fire and were “almost completely destroyed”.
On the same track, the two trains hurtled toward each other.
“They were travelling at great speed and one (driver) didn’t see the other coming,” the governor said.
Buses evacuated 250 passengers safely to Thessaloniki. According to ERT, one passenger escaped after breaking a train window with his suitcase.
A young man who was evacuated to a nearby bridge said there was panic inside the carriage.
Angelos Tsiamouras, another passenger, said it felt like an earthquake.
As well as debris strewn across the road, SKAI showed footage of derailed carriages with broken windows and thick plumes of smoke. Torches were seen in carriages carried by rescue workers looking for trapped passengers.
In a televised address, fire brigade spokesperson Vassilis Varthakogiannis said passengers are being evacuated under very difficult conditions.
State broadcaster ERT showed rescue workers with headlights searching the wreckage and surrounding fields early Wednesday.
We’re pulling people out alive, injured, dead. We’ll be here until we’re done, until we find the last person, a volunteer rescue worker told ERT state broadcaster.
About 350 people boarded the passenger train, which left Athens around 7.30 pm (0530 GMT). Just before midnight on Tuesday, the fire brigade was notified of the accident. From Thessaloniki to Larissa, the cargo train was traveling.
Two trains collided head on outside Larissa in 1972, killing 19 people.
Many trains still use single tracks, and there aren’t enough signalling and automatic control systems installed in many areas of Greece’s aged railway system.
As part of its international bailout programme, Greece sold rail operator TRAINOSE to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane in 2017, expecting hundreds of millions of euros to be invested in rail infrastructure.
It runs 342 passenger and commercial routes a day, according to the Italian company’s website.
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