Greek transport minister resigns over train crash; 36 dead, scores injured
GreeceThe Minister of Transport resigned train accident Due to which at least 36 people were killed and many were injured. Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis said he felt it was his “duty” to resign “as a fundamental gesture of respect for the memory of those who died so unjustly”.
Rescuers searched through the flattened, charred carriages for survivors and bodies Wednesday after a passenger train and a freight train collided head-on in central Greece, killing at least 36 people and injuring several others. done
The cause of the accident near the valley of Tempe, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens, was not immediately clear, but the station master of the nearby city of Larissa was arrested on Wednesday. Police did not release his name.
Two other persons have been detained for questioning. It is unclear how fast the two trains were traveling when they collided before midnight on Tuesday, but state broadcaster ERT said it was more than 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph). Survivors said that the shock threw many passengers through the train windows. ERT quoted rescuers as saying they found the bodies of some victims 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) from the impact site.
Stefanos Gogakos said it felt like an explosion, while flames from his rear compartment could be seen at the front of the train. “The glass of the windows broke and fell on us,” he told ERT. “With a shock, my head hit the roof of the coach. Some people started to get out through the windows as there was smoke in the carriage. The doors were closed but in a few minutes the train workers opened them and we got out.”
Several cars derailed and at least three caught fire. On Wednesday, a box lay on top of the dismembered remains of two others. “The temperature reached 1,300 degrees Celsius (2,372 Fahrenheit), making it even more difficult to identify the occupants,” said fire service spokesman Vassilis Varthakoiannis.
Officials said many of the 350 people aboard the passenger train were students returning from a noisy carnival in Greece. The three-day festival, which precedes Lent, was celebrated in its entirety this year for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Visiting the crash site, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the government should help identify and recover the injured. the dead “I can guarantee one thing: we will find out the causes of this tragedy and we will do everything in our power so that something like this does not happen again,” Mitsotakis said.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou broke off an official trip to Moldova to visit the scene, laying flowers next to the wreckage. The government declared three days of national mourning from Wednesday, while flags outside all European Commission buildings in Brussels were flown at half-mast. Pope Francis, in a message sent on his behalf by the Vatican’s secretary of state to the president of the Greek bishops’ conference, offered his condolences to the families of the dead. The Pope “sends the assurance of his prayers to everyone affected by this tragedy,” the message said.
On Wednesday, rescuers turned to cranes and other heavy machinery to begin moving large pieces of the train, revealing more bodies and dismembered remains. Officials said that the army was contacted for help.
Rescuer Lazaros Sarianidis told state broadcaster ERT that crews were “very carefully” trying to remove steel, sheet metal and other materials that had been twisted together by the crash. “It’s going to take a long time,” Sarianidis said.
Also Read: Greece: 36 dead, many injured due to collision of passenger trains
Kostas Agorastos, regional governor of the Thessaly region, told Greece’s Sky Television that the two trains collided head-on at high speed. “Carriage one and two no longer exist, and the third has derailed,” he said.
The trains crashed just before the Valley of Tempe, a gorge that separates the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia. “There were a lot of big pieces of steel,” said Vassilis Polijos, a local resident who said he was one of the first on the scene. “The trains were completely destroyed, both passenger and freight.”
He said that when he arrived, shocked and disappointed people were getting out of the back cars of the train. “People, naturally, were scared, very scared,” he said.
“They were looking around, searching; they didn’t know where they were.”
According to Yannis Nitsas, president of the Greek Railroad Workers Union, eight train workers were among those killed in the accident, including two freight train drivers and two passenger train drivers.
Greece’s fire service said about 66 people were hospitalized, including six in intensive care. More than 200 people who were unharmed or suffered minor injuries in the crash were taken by bus to Thessaloniki, 130 km (80 mi) to the north. Police took their names as they arrived, trying to track down anyone who might be missing.
Barely holding back tears, Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis told reporters at the crash site that authorities would investigate the cause of the crash “with all seriousness and full transparency”. “We will do everything we can to investigate the causes and not sweep anything under the carpet,” Karamanlis said.
A young survivor, who did not give his name to reporters, said he felt a hard brake and saw sparks just before the crash, then suddenly stop.
“Our carriage didn’t derail, but the front ones did and broke,” he said, visibly shaken.
He added that the first car caught fire and he used his car, the fourth, and a bag to escape.
Rail operator Hellenic Train said about 350 passengers were on board the northbound passenger train to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. Hellenic Train is operated by Italy’s FS Group, which operates train services in several European countries.
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