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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Greek PM Apologises for Deadly Train Accident

A station master has been arrested and charged with manslaughter through negligence for the head-on collision of a passenger train with a freight train

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GREECE: As anger grows over the deadly crash, rescuers are expected to finish looking for the bodies of the people who died when two trains crashed head-on in central Greece. The search for missing passengers would probably last over three days after a Thessaloniki-bound passenger train collided with an approaching freight train outside the town of Tempe, killing at least 57 people.

In the days following the crash, the authorities had earlier reported that 56 people were still missing. When the high-speed train exploded into flames and was thrown off the tracks and into a gorge more than 200 miles (320 km) north of Athens, it was transporting more than 350 passengers.

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As the chances of finding the living or dead dropped, getting the victims’ bodies back to their families became a top priority. On Friday, officials said that 54 of the victims had been identified with the help of DNA samples from their families. 

However, the process was taking longer than expected because of how bad the crash was. Only one passenger survived the temperatures that went over 1,300C. He was a young man who was in the three waggons at the front of the train that was the worst. He has since had multiple operations.

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A health ministry order says that relatives will get the bodies back in sealed caskets for “psychological reasons.” The decision by the ministers has caused a lot of debate and added to the general feeling of sadness in a country where families often say their last goodbyes before opening coffins.

Flags from the Acropolis, museums and public buildings flew at half-mast on Friday, the third formal day of mourning in Greece. However, anger is being felt more and more over an accident that many people believe could have been avoided.

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Rail workers kept on striking to protest safety rules and, more generally, the terrible state of the Greek rail system, which starts with the lack of proper signaling. Students also held protests all over the country, promising to speak for the dead and demanding justice.

At the height of the nation’s debt problem, a number of public utilities, including Hellenic Train, were privatized. The Italian state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) Italiane purchased it in 2016.

Inaugurating its new high-speed electrified passenger train service between Athens and Thessaloniki last year, the company claimed on its website that trains could transport people between the two cities in less than four hours if they traveled at speeds of up to 250 km/h. 

Before Tuesday’s deadly crash, the Intercity train was going in this direction when it hit the cargo train coming from Thessaloniki to Larissa at more than 100 mph.

Also Read: Two Trains Collide in Greece, Killing at Least 32 and Injuring Dozens

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