Greece train collision killed 36 people; 85 reported injured

At least 36 people were killed and 85 injured after a passenger train collided with a cargo train on Tuesday evening in central Greece, according to fire service officials.

The Greek Fire Service said, more than 350 people were on board when two trains collided head-on in Tempi, near the city of Larissa and death toll is expected to rise, adding 66 injured people were hospitalized, six of whom are in intensive care units.

The passenger train had changed lanes and switched to a cargo track before it collided head-on with a freight train, reported ERT.

According to Reuters report, “There was panic … the fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, fire was right and left,” said Stergios Minenis, a 28-year-old passenger who jumped to safety from the wreckage.

This was one of the deadliest rail crashes in Greece in decades where the fatal collision took place as two trains were traveling on the same track for many kilometers before the incident occurred, the state-owned public broadcaster ERT reported Wednesday.

A passenger who escaped from the fifth carriage told Skai TV, “Windows were being smashed and people were screaming … One of the windows caved in from the impact of iron from the other train.”

According to the footages showed by the local broadcaster, SKAI, derailed carriages were badly damaged with broken windows and a thick plumes of smoke, could be seen on the site. Rescue workers rushed to the spot looking for trapped passengers in carriages.

“The evacuation of passengers is under way in very difficult conditions given the severity of the collision of the two trains,” said Vassilis Varthakogiannis, fire brigade spokesperson during a television address.

Last time a fatal accident similar to this took place in 1972, where 19 people were killed when two trains collided head on outside Larissa.  

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