At least 38 people were killed and more than 80 people were injured when a train carrying several hundred people collided late Tuesday night with a freight train in Greece. Many of the passengers were university students returning from a lengthy vacation weekend.
The rescue effort was still going on at noon local time, and rescue dogs and search crews were already on the scene. Cranes were employed by the fire department to lift the train cars that had derailed and search beneath them for trapped passengers.
According to authorities, the number of fatalities is the largest for a railway accident in Greece since at least the middle of the 1960s. Officials have not yet disclosed the reason of the collision or the contents of the freight train.
The collision happened close to Larissa on the key route connecting Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, with Athens, the country’s capital. A representative for the Greek fire department stated that first responders arrived at the scene around 15 minutes after the incident was reported at 11:24 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The hunt for survivors and victims was ongoing, and there were about 150 firefighters and 30 ambulances on the scene.
Six patients in intensive care units were among the 66 injured patients who were admitted to the hospital. While some survivors were transported to Thessaloniki, the victims were brought to a hospital in Larissa.
The fire department spokeswoman stated that at the time of the collision, there were 352 persons aboard the passenger train, including 10 crew members, and two individuals on the freight train. He claimed that there were still a number of persons missing.
The first three carriages of the train had the majority of the injured and deceased. The train tracks were littered with burned-out carriages, according to images that appeared in Greek media.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, visited the scene and issued a three-day national mourning proclamation. He commanded that all government buildings fly their flags at half-staff and that all public events be postponed.
Greece celebrated a national holiday on Monday to mark the beginning of Orthodox lent.
A state-owned railroad corporation in Italy, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA, acquired the primary company in charge of running Greek passenger and freight trains in 2017. The Greek railway system is not managed by that business, currently known as Hellenic Train SA. Ferrovie said it would probably release a statement later on Wednesday but declined to say further.
Giorgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy, extended her sympathies to the victims’ families.