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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Greece train crash claims more than 30 lives

At least 32 people are reported to have been killed and dozens injured after two trains collided in Greece.

A passenger train travelling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki collided with a freight train outside Larissa just before midnight.

The collision was near the Vale of Teme, a gorge that separates the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.

Police said several carriages came off the rails, with at least three of them catching fire.

Footage showed rescuers wearing head lamps surrounded by thick smoke, pulling pieces of mangled metal from the carriages to search for trapped people.

Others scoured the field with flashlights and checked underneath the wreckage.

Several of the dead are believed to have been found in the restaurant area near the front of the passenger train.

Rail operator Hellenic Train said it had about 350 passengers on board.

Regional governor of Thessaly, Kostas Agorastos, said 250 survivors had been evacuated to Thessaloniki on buses.

The collision was so violent that the first two carriages of the passenger train “no longer exist”, he told Skai television.

“This is a terrible night,” he had earlier told state-run television. “It’s hard to describe the scene.”

He added: “The front section of the train was smashed… we’re getting cranes to come in and special lifting equipment to clear the debris and lift the rail cars. There’s debris flung all around the crash site.”
Fire brigade spokesperson Vassilis Vathrakogiannis told a news conference that 32 people were killed and at least 85 were injured.

“The evacuation process is ongoing and is being carried out under very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision between the two trains,” he said.

Hospital units specialising in burns treatment had been put on alert, he added.
Ambulances from several nearby towns were called in to take injured passengers to hospitals, while rescue workers continued to work in the thick smoke.

Government officials said the army has been asked to help with the rescue.

“There were many big pieces of steel,” said Vassilis Polyzos, a local resident who was one of the first people on the scene.

“The trains were completely destroyed, both passenger and freight trains.”

He said dazed and disoriented people were escaping out of the train’s rear cars as he arrived.

“People, naturally, were scared – very scared,” he said. “They were looking around, searching; they didn’t know where they were.”

The cause of the collision is not yet known.

Sky News

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