Tragedy in Greece: Train collision with 32 dead and 85 injured (VIDEO+PICTURES)
A commercial and a passenger train collided head-on
A train collision occurred Tuesday night just outside of Tempe and at least 32 people have died.
At least 85 are injured while checks have not been completed on all carriages. More deaths are feared. 53 remain in hospitals for treatment, while the rest have left.
Twenty-five of the injured are in serious condition.
The collision between the two trains, a freight train and a passenger train, also caused a fire.
According to a fire officer, the fire is now out but the extrication operation is in progress. Passengers freed by the fire department are picked up by EKAV.
The collision occurred shortly before midnight on Tuesday, under circumstances that have not yet been clarified. The passenger train was running the Athens-Thessaloniki route.
The extrication and rescue operation continues by the forces of the Fire Brigade with a total of 150 firefighters and 40 ambulances of the National Emergency Center. Their work is assisted by 32 police officers with 15 patrol cars. Crane-carrying vehicles also assist in the extrication work.
As reported by the press representative of the Fire Department, fire chief Vassilis Vathrakogiannis, the passengers who are in good health were transported by buses to Thessaloniki.
"Cars 1 and 2 do not exist. Due to the severity of the conflict, they were ejected," the Regional Governor of Thessaly, Kostas Agorastos, told ERT. The Deputy Minister of Transport, Michalis Papadopoulos, spoke of a tragic accident.
The shift supervisor of the OSE Larissa, on whose shift the fatal accident occurred, was taken to the Larissa Police Department.
Testimonies of passengers
Passengers who got out of the train unharmed spoke about the moment of the collision. "We had stopped, we would have been an hour late because another train was ahead. I just thought it crashed," a woman told a local media camera. "There was a bang (…) the train was half full, basically full," said another passenger.
The state apparatus has been put on alert
The Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Christos Stylianidis is from the first moment at the Unified Coordination Center for Crisis Management in Civil Protection, together with the Deputy Minister Evangelos Tournas, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, Yiannis Bratakos and the Chief of the Fire Brigade Giorgos Pournaras.
The Minister of Citizen Protection Takis Theodorikakos is at the ELAS Operations Center with the Head of the Corps Konstantinos Skoumas, while Fire and Police officers are at the scene of the accident and at the hospitals in order to register the dead and injured.
The 1st Army and the units of the Thessaly Region are activated and put on alert protocol as provided in case of such accidents. The military hospitals of Athens and Thessaloniki are on alert.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris is currently in area hospitals.
Hellenic Train: About 350 passengers were on board the commercial train at the time of the collision
At the time of the collision, according to data released by the Hellenic Train company, approximately 350 passengers were on board. According to information, when the train started its journey from Athens, it was carrying 430 people, and in Larissa about 80 got off, while the rest continued the route until the severe collision of the two trains.
Regarding the tragic accident, the company says in its statement: "In Evangelismos, a head-on collision occurred between two trains: a freight train and the IC 62 train that had departed from Athens to Thessaloniki. About 350 passengers were on board at the time of the collision. Firefighters and Hellenic Train personnel rushed to the scene, participating in rescue operations and providing assistance to travelers."
Due to the collision of the two trains at Evangelismos, according to information from Hellenic Train, not all services will be carried out in: