In the municipality of Tempi, the passenger train was emerging from a tunnel when the incident occurred. As a result, the first four carriages of the train were derailed, with the first two catching fire and being “almost completely destroyed,” according to Kostas Agorastos, the Thessaly regional governor.
The number of casualties is not precise, but according to Greek news outlets, at least 36 individuals have died, with dozens more being wounded, some of whom are in critical condition.
The search operation at the wreckage site of the first two carriages is ongoing, with 150 firefighters, 17 vehicles, and four cranes being employed. Additionally, 40 ambulances are present at the location.
According to eyewitnesses, the passenger train, which was involved in the accident, was about two-thirds full and had many young people on board, Reuters said.
The tragic accident
The passenger train was en route from Athens to Thessaloniki and it is believed that many of the passengers were returning to the city following a holiday for Greek Orthodox lent. The Greek fire department has reported that the identification of individuals is proving to be challenging due to the fire’s high temperatures, which exceeded 1,300C at the point of ignition.Thessaloniki’s student associations are urging for a thorough investigation into the accident without any cover-up. The freight train involved in the collision was travelling from Thessaloniki to Larissa.
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The cause of the accident remains unclear, but the regional governor noted that both trains were operating on the same track.
Following the passenger train’s passage through Larissa, a local station master has been apprehended by the police. Although the station master, who is responsible for signaling, has denied any wrongdoing, he has suggested that the collision was the result of a possible technical failure.
The head of Greece’s Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) has stated that the initial outcome of an inquiry into the collision is that it was caused by human error.
The Greek government has announced three days of national mourning and stated that the cost of the victims’ funerals will be covered by the state budget.
As a sign of respect for the deceased, the transport minister has resigned from his position.
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