A crane, firefighters and rescuers function after the collision in Tempe close to Larissa metropolis, Greece. Photograph / AP
A passenger practice carrying tons of of individuals, together with many college college students returning house from vacation, collided at excessive pace with an oncoming freight practice in a fiery wreck in northern Greece, killing 36 and injuring no less than 85, officers stated.
A number of automobiles derailed and no less than three burst into flames after the collision simply earlier than midnight on Tuesday close to the city of Tempe because the passenger practice was rising from a freeway underpass.
Rescue crews illuminated the scene with floodlights earlier than daybreak on Wednesday as they searched frantically by means of the twisted, smoking wreckage for survivors. After dawn, they turned to heavy equipment that had been introduced in to start out shifting giant items of the trains.
Officers stated most of the passengers on board the Athens to Thessaloniki practice had been college college students returning house after celebrating Carnival over the lengthy weekend.
“It is a horrible tragedy that’s onerous to understand,” stated Deputy Well being Minister Mina Gaga. “I really feel so sorry for the dad and mom of those youngsters.”
Survivors stated a number of passengers have been thrown by means of the home windows of the practice automobiles because of the impression. They stated others fought to free themselves after the passenger practice buckled, slamming right into a area close to a gorge, about 380km north of Athens.
“There have been many massive items of metal,” stated Vassilis Polyzos, a neighborhood resident who stated he was one of many first folks on the scene. “The trains have been utterly destroyed, each passenger and freight trains.”
He stated dazed and disoriented folks have been escaping out of the practice’s rear automobiles as he arrived.
“Individuals, naturally, have been scared — very scared,” he stated. “They have been trying round, looking; they didn’t know the place they have been.”
The trains crashed simply earlier than the Vale of Tempe, a gorge that separates the areas of Thessaly and Macedonia. Costas Agorastos, the regional governor of the Thessaly space, advised Greece’s Skai Tv the 2 trains crashed head-on at excessive pace.
“Carriage One and Two now not exist, and the third has derailed,” he stated.
Rescuers sporting headlamps labored in thick smoke, pulling items of mangled steel from the automobiles to seek for trapped folks. Others scoured the sphere with flashlights and checked beneath the wreckage. A number of of the useless are believed to have been discovered within the restaurant automotive close to the entrance of the passenger practice.
Hospital officers within the close by metropolis of Larissa stated no less than 25 of these damage had severe accidents.
“The evacuation course of is ongoing and is being carried out underneath very tough circumstances because of the severity of the collision between the 2 trains,” stated Vassilis Varthakoyiannis, a spokesman for Greece’s firefighting service.
The attainable reason behind the collision was not instantly clear. Two rail officers have been being questioned by police however had not been detained.
Passengers who obtained minor accidents or have been unhurt have been transported by bus to Thessaloniki, 130km to the north. Police took their names as they arrived, in an effort to trace anybody who could also be lacking.
A teenage survivor who didn’t give his title advised reporters that simply earlier than the crash he felt a powerful braking and noticed sparks — then there was a sudden cease.
“Our carriage didn’t derail, however the ones in entrance did and have been smashed,” he stated, visibly shaken.
He added that the primary automotive caught fireplace and that he used a bag to interrupt the window of his automotive, the fourth, and escape.
Rail operator Hellenic Prepare stated the northbound passenger practice to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest metropolis, had about 350 passengers on board.
Agorastos described the collision on state tv as “very highly effective” and stated it was “a horrible evening”.
“The entrance part of the practice was smashed … We’re getting cranes to return in and particular lifting gear clear the particles and elevate the rail automobiles. There’s particles flung throughout the crash website.”
Officers stated the military had been contacted to help.
Hellenic Prepare, which has added high-speed providers lately, is operated by Italy’s FS Group, which runs rail providers in a number of European international locations.