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

About 250 passengers were safely transported to Thessaloniki by buses

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

GREECE: Two trains collided head-on in Greece late Tuesday, killing at least 32 people and injuring 85, according to the fire department, but the exact cause of the country’s deadliest rail accident in decades is still unknown.

An intercity passenger train that was travelling from Athens to Thessaloniki, a northern city, collided with a cargo train outside the central Greek city, Larissa, the governor of the Thessaly region said.

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The impact started fires in a few of the passenger cars, and many people had to be taken to hospitals because they were burned.

A passenger who fled to safety from the wreckage, Stergios Minenis, 28, said, “We heard a big bang; it was 10 nightmarish seconds. We were turning over in the wagon until we fell on our sides… then there was panic, cables (everywhere), and fire; the fire was immediate; as we were turning over, we were being burned; the fire was right and left.”

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The first four-passenger train carriages were derailed in the collision, and the first two carriages that caught fire were “almost completely destroyed,” said Thessaly regional governor Konstantinos Agorastos on SKAI TV.

The two trains hurtled towards one another on the same track, he said.

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“They were traveling at great speed, and one (the driver) didn’t know the other was coming,” stated the governor.

About 250 passengers were safely transported to Thessaloniki by buses. One passenger said to ERT, a state broadcaster, that he managed to flee after breaking the window of the train with his suitcase.

A young man who was taken to a nearby bridge during an evacuation told SKAI TV that “there was panic in the carriage, people were screaming.”

The TV station SKAI showed pictures of derailed carriages with broken windows and thick plumes of smoke. In carriages, rescue personnel was spotted searching for trapped passengers while holding torches.

Early on Wednesday, a video from state broadcaster ERT showed rescuers with headlights searching the debris and nearby fields for survivors. 

A volunteer rescuer told the state broadcaster ERT, “We are living through a tragedy. We are pulling out people alive, injured…there are dead. We are going to be here all night until we finish until we find the last person.”

About 350 passengers boarded the passenger train, which left Athens at around 7:30 p.m., as reported by local media (0530 GMT). The fire department stated that it was notified of the accident shortly before midnight on Tuesday. The route of the cargo train was from Thessaloniki to Larissa.

In 1972, two trains collided head-on outside Larissa, killing 19 people. Greece’s aging rail infrastructure must be updated because many trains still run on single lines and many locations lack automatic control and signalling systems.

In 2017, as part of its international bailout program, Greece sold railroad operator TRAINOSE to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, with the expectation that hundreds of millions of euros would be invested in train infrastructure over the ensuing years.

The Italian company’s website says that it is the main rail service for both people and goods in Greece and that it runs 342 routes for both people and goods every day.

Also Read: European Tourist Spots to Make a Comeback as Greece, Spain, Turkey Plan to Draw Visitors


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