Train accident in Greece: Late Tuesday night, two trains crashed near the Greek city of Larissa, killing at least 32 people and hurting another 85.
A fire service spokesman confirmed that several cars went off the tracks just before midnight. This happened when two trains, one carrying freight and the other 350 people, crashed about halfway between Athens and Thessaloniki.
“Thirty-two bodies have been found,” spokesman Vassilis Vathrakogiannis told reporters. He also said that rescue efforts were still going on for people who were still trapped.
“Out of the 85 people who were hurt, 53 are still in the hospital.”
No one has yet said why the two trains crashed into each other.
The crash is being called by Greek media as “the worst train accident Greece has ever seen.”
The passenger train was going from the capital, Athens, to the second city, Thessaloniki, in the north, while the freight train was going in the opposite direction.
Emergency services in Greece say that about 150 firefighters and 40 ambulances were sent to help. Cranes and people with mechanical skills were also used to try to clean up the mess and right overturned cars.
“In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s terrible. We’re still finding bodies five hours later, “”I’m tired,” said a rescuer who had just come out of the wreckage where he and his team had been working.
One car was completely crushed, which made it hard for rescuers to do their jobs, and smoke and flames came out of other cars.
“Most of the passengers have been taken to safety,” Vathrakogiannis, a spokesman, said.
“The operation to free people who are stuck is already going on, but it is hard to do because the crash between the two trains was so bad.”
Public TV station ERT says that after the crash, one of the train cars caught fire and several people were stuck inside.
Yorgos Manolis, the mayor of the nearby town of Tempi, told ERT that there were a lot of students on the train. They were going back to Thessaloniki after a long holiday weekend.
One passenger named Lazos told the newspaper Protothema that the experience was “very shocking.”
“I wasn’t hurt, but blood from people who were hurt near me was all over me,” he said.
A young woman wrote in tears on the local news site Onlarissa that the train was stopped for a few minutes when they heard a loud noise.
Another passenger who was scared told Skai television “The windows broke all at once. People were scared and yelling.”
“We were lucky that we were able to open the doors and get out quickly. In some wagons, they couldn’t get out, and one wagon caught fire “he added.
After the crash, an emergency meeting of the government was called, and the Greek Minister of Health, Thanos Plevris, went to the scene while the Minister of the Interior, Takis Theodorikakos, supervised the response from a crisis management center.
According to the fire services, the two hospitals near Larissa have been asked to take care of the many injured people. Military hospitals in Thessaloniki and Athens are also “on alert” in case they are needed