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5 in hospital with hypothermia after 3,500 people evacuated from Attiki Odos; dozens still stranded

Dozens of people and vehicles remain stranded on Attiki Odos ring road of Athens still early Tuesday afternoon, as Army, Fire Bridges and Police try to evacuate them. After having been trapped in a car struck in snow for over 26 hours, five people suffered hypothermia and were taken to hospitals in the Greek capital.

In one case the ambulance could not reach the patient and he was transported on a stretcher to the vehicle by soldiers.

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By the evacuation operation that started short before midnight Monday, a total of 3,500 people and over 1,800 vehicles were removed by 12 o’ clock noon, the Civil Protection has said.

Several people needed first aid, there were reportedly 20 calls for transfer to hospitals, however, ultimately only the five with hypothermia were transferred.

Among those trapped were families with children and elderly, people who had left their homes on Monday morning to go to work.

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Tuesday morning, the operations manager of Attiki Odos estimated that “200 people and 100 vehicles remained stranded.

But media suggest that more or less 1,500 people were still waiting for help, even though many had abandoned their cars and that a total of 5,000 people were trapped on the highway, just a dozen km from the center of Athens.

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Meanwhile, the managing company appear to have accepted the Prime Minister’s request to pay a compensation of 2,000 euros per stranded car.

Κακοκαιρία Ελπίς ΣΖτρατιώτες

For the company that’s certainly a “fair deal” if one considers the cost it would face if the affected people would file lawsuits against them.

It should be recalled that the managing company recently asked from the Greek state a total of 87 million euros as compensation for revenue losses due to the pandemic.

Speaking to media, the operations manager of the company said that “any plan we had was almost impossible to carry out with so many trucks and cars in the network”. He said that trucks were banned from entering Attiki Odos at 14:00 on Monday afternoon. He added that the weather conditions were difficult to manage and unprecedented, while he admitted that “possibly we delayed.”

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The Greek Army distributed blankets, sandwiches, chocolates, water, cognac and meals to those stranded since 11:30 Monday morning and could not leave their cars.

An 87-year-old woman told rescuers that it was impossible for her to walk in the snow and stayed in her car under a bridge for over 24 hours, state broadcaster ERT reported.

Some of 50-60 evacuees were transported to some hotel in Kanzta where they had to sleep on the floor or on a chair as there was no official request to the hotel to provide rooms to the people.

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Exclusive report by XploreMykonosNews.

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4:30 Tuesday afternoon, and motorists are still trapped on Attiki Odos, ERT reports.

αττική οδός οδηγός με κουβέρτα

As usually in Greece, one institution throws the responsibility ball to each other, the government solely blames the Attiki Odos managing company that, however, could only close the highway to traffic after consultation with the Traffic Police.

More pictures by @athenstransport, protohema

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7 comments

  1. That is a lot of snow and obviously the authorities failed. But how many people were driving on summer tires? Are winter tires obligatory in Greece? I can imagine that people economize on winter tires. It is another expense plus two times per year you need to replace the tires. But winter tires make a difference. As do snow chains but many people don’t have them or don’t know how to put them on.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Greece? Athens? coast ?
      Neverthe less there was no instruction by Traffi Police for winter tires in downtown Athens before too late, something like 8 pm

      • If you hadn’t them on before the snow falls then it is too late. Only snow chains would then help but only on the wheels that have the traction. People are also not used in driving in the snow. If you don’t have ABS then wheels can block when you break and you just slide. Heck, even ABS is no guarantee.

    • Winter tyres ,hhhmmm
      Let’s get the Jamaicans to buy ski equipment or the Eskimo people to buy some Aircon.
      How many winter tyres do you you think we’re available in Athens retail outlets, just in case there was a 1 in 50 year snow event , automatic rear wheel drives were the problem 2 cars at the head of the traffic in snow can cause a total gridlock.
      Furthermore when you pay to go on a highway you have a right to total confidence that your safety is being catered for by a competent management.
      Not a total bunch of jokers , this country is becoming an expert in shutting the gate when the horse has bolted , add that to Olympic gold medalists at wasting other people’s time and money.

      • Winter tires are not just for snow and ice but also for rain and mud when the temperature is lower than 15 degrees Celsius. In many countries in the region they are obligatory from half October until half of April.

        There is a false sense of security expecting just because you pay for the use of the highway that your safety is guaranteed. We live in risk societies and every time you go on the highway you take a risk. There is only so much emergency response can do. But competent management indeed helps.

        • Where are winter tyres mandatory in Europe?
          Austria
          Belarus
          Bosnia Herzegovina
          Czech Republic
          Estonia
          Finland
          Germany
          Iceland
          Latvia
          Lithuania
          Macedonia
          Moldova
          Montenegro
          Russia
          Serbia
          Slovenia
          Sweden
          These are the many countries in our region 😂😂😂
          Fact checked .

    • I fully agree with Dejan’s opinion. In winter period cars should be equipped with winter tires or at least with snow chains.
      In Greece winter tires/snow chains are not mandatory by the law. However, if something is not demanded by the law, this doesn’t means that we should not be responsible. Drivers should take a responsibility for at least our own safety. Summer tires are simple not the right and safe choice in this season. In many countries, where WI equipment is not mandatory, as well from side of tire producers usage of winter tires is recommended during the winter period, below 7°C.

      Government and Attiki Odos failed, but partially also drivers.