Train crash in Greece: Several dead, dozens injured
Tempe, Greece –
At least 26 people have been killed and at least 85 injured after a passenger train collided with an oncoming freight train in northern Greece, fire officials said.
Several cars derailed and at least three were set ablaze after a collision near Tempe, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens. Hospital officials in the nearby city of Larissa said at least 25 people were seriously injured.
“The evacuation process is ongoing and is being carried out under very difficult conditions as the collision between the two trains is severe,” said Fire Department spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis.
A hospital unit used to treat burn victims had been alerted in the area, and dozens of ambulances were involved in the rescue effort, he said.
Rescue workers with headlamps pulled pieces of metal from the vehicle and searched for those trapped in the smoke.
Passengers with minor or uninjured injuries were taken by bus to Thessaloniki, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the incident. Police named them upon arrival to track down the missing.
A teenage survivor who did not give his name told Greek reporters that when he got off one of the buses just before the crash, he felt a hard brake and saw sparks before coming to a sudden stop.
“Our carriage did not derail, but the front carriage derailed and was destroyed,” he said, clearly trembling.
He added that the first car caught fire and he used the bag to break the window of the fourth car and escape.
In comments to state television, Thessaly’s governor Kostas Agorastos described the clashes as “very strong” and said it was a “horrible night”.
“The front of the train has been destroyed … Cranes are being brought in, special lifting equipment is being used to clear the debris, and the railcars are being lifted. Debris is scattered around the crash site.”
Officials said they have contacted the military for assistance.
Railway operator Hellenic Trains said about 350 passengers were on board a northbound passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki when the collision occurred.
Gatopoulos reported from Athens.