At least 36 people have been killed, 66 injured and many are missing still hours after high-speed passenger train IC 62 with 352 people on board collided with a freight train coming from the opposite direction.
Firefighters, army units, rescuers, police are struggling to locate passengers under the tons of steel, iron and glass.
According to latest information by the Civil Protection at 11:20 a.m.:
- “There are 36 confirmed dead, while the number is expected to rise.”
- On board of the passenger train of the Hellenic Train were 342 passenger and 10 people crew
- On board of the freight train were 2 people
Some passengers were flown 30-40 meters away from the train.
- Six people in critical condition are intubated in ICU in the local hospitals.
- Seven of the dead were completely burned
Locals in Larisa where the majority of the injured have been taken line up to donate blood
Survivors in shock told media that they first heard a loud bang and then …the chaos.
The passenger train flew off the track bursting into flames.
- At least five passengers were flown 30-40 meters away from the train into the fields.
- The first and the second wagons became one and are completely burned.
The tragedy took place short before Tuesday midnight in the area of Tempi, 350 km north of the Greek capital Athens as the passenger train was heading to Thessaloniki.
According to preliminary information, the two trains were found on the same track.
- Rescuers told state broadcaster ERT that they had difficulty to locate the area where the two trains collided.
Many young people, students, were returning to universities or homes after a long Carnival holiday weekend.
- Injured in the hospitals are aged between 19 and 64.
As investigation into the causes of the fatal collision has started and is ongoing, four people have been detained including a Hellenic Train responsible, media report. According to state ERT TV, detentions have turned into arrests.
More on the causes on a separate KTG post.
“Windows were being smashed and people were screaming,” said a passenger on the fifth carriage. “One of the windows caved in from the impact of iron from the other train,” the passenger told Skai TV as he took shelter under a nearby bridge, his face illuminated from the fire raging in the background.
“My child is not picking up the phone,” one woman said as she waited at a train station in Thessaloniki. Another woman ran to embrace her daughter as she disembarked from a bus with survivors. “Mum don’t, I’m hurt,” she said.
“There was panic, cables (everywhere) fire, the fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, fire was right and left,” said 28-year old passenger Stergios Minenis.
Another passenger in one of the last carriages said he felt the train shake, then flip over.
“I managed to get out and went to the front, the train was bent at a 90 degree angle, half of it was hanging over the cliff burning. There were five people injured just where I stood,” he told reuters
3-day national mourning
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared a 3-day mourning for the national tragedy.
PM Mitsotakis is expected to visit the site later today.
President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou interrupts her official visit to Moldavia and returns to Greece to visit the site and survivors.