Following a tragic head-on collision between two trains in central Greece, rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors while the death toll continues to rise. The incident occurred on Tuesday evening, shortly before midnight, in Tempi, central Greece, close to the city of Larissa, when a passenger train carrying over 350 people collided with a freight train according to CNN.
The Greek Fire Service has confirmed that at least 36 people have died in the accident, with 66 people requiring medical treatment and six of them currently in intensive care. The process of identifying the victims has already begun, with Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris acknowledging that it’s a terrifying experience for the families but added that the government would do everything possible to help.
Plevris also mentioned that the injured individuals are in relatively good condition, although there have been some difficulties in identifying the victims. Eyewitness accounts from passengers have described the terrifying experience of the collision. One male passenger told Greek public broadcaster ERT that they heard a loud bang, and the train carriage started spinning before coming to a stop on its side when they managed to escape.
Another passenger recounted it as ten nightmarish seconds with fire, where visibility was limited due to the smoke. The Greek Fire Service has already begun the recovery efforts, focusing on the first carriages of the passenger train. However, unfortunately, the death toll is expected to rise as more information becomes available.
The passenger train was travelling from Athens, the capital, to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, known for its festivals and vibrant cultural life. The incident occurred after a nationwide carnival that ended with a public holiday on Monday. The primary Greek railway company, Hellenic Train, issued a press release stating that the collision happened between a freight train and IC 62, which had departed from Athens to Thessaloniki.
However, the cause of the accident is still unknown. Condolences have started pouring in from around the world, with Catherine Colonna, French Foreign Minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, among those expressing their condolences.
Catherine Colonna tweeted, “Sad thoughts after the terrible train accident near Larissa in Greece… my heart goes out to the people of Greece, and I express my sincere condolences to the victims and their families.” Ursula von der Leyen also expressed her sympathies, stating, “The whole of Europe is mourning with you. I also wish for a speedy recovery for all the injured.”