A tragic accident occurred on Wednesday morning in Rethymnon, Crete, when an ambulance collided with a private car. Three oxygen bottles exploded causing the death of the two passengers, while the driver suffered serious injuries. The two women on the private vehicle suffered minor injuries.
Dead are the director of Crete ambulance service EKAV, anesthisiologist Dimitris Vourvachakis, and the chairman of the union of Crete-EKAV workers, paramedics Vangelis Kelarakis.
According to Skai TV, the two men were heading to a seminar with their private car when it broke down. An ambulance passing by gave them a lift. For reasons unknown so far, the ambulance got away from its course and collided with a private car.
Within minutes, the oxygen bottles exploded engulfing the ambulance in flames.
Drivers from other cars tried to help the trapped passengers but it was impossible because of the flames.
“I heard them screaming for help, but there was nothing I could do” an eyewitness told local media prismanews.
“I am unable to believe what happened right before my eyes. The people sturggled to get out of the vehicle. They were screaming for help. They called me to help them, they were shouting ‘help me’ but I couldn’t. I heard them screaming, burning in front of me but I couldn’t come close due to the explosions. Nobody could come close. When the explosion occurred the vehicle was lifted in the air, then the flames spread everywhere. If it wasn’t for the fire, both they would be alive.”
Hellenic National Center for Emergency Assistance (EKAV)
Shocked and grieving colleagues of the two men told the media about the deteriorating condition of ambulances due to austerity measures speaking of “rickety vehicles with worn-out tires”
The accident occured one the national road Heraklion-Rethymno in the area of Agia Pelagia.