Two trains, a passenger train carrying 350 people and a cargo train, collided head-on in Greece earlier on Wednesday morning, killing at least 32 people and leaving 85 injured.
Early Wednesday morning, a passenger train heading from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki met with a horrific accident. It collided head-on with an onrushing freight train, which was headed to Larissa from Thessaloniki, in a terrible accident.
The fiery accident took place about 380 kilometers (80 miles) north of Athens. The trains collided near the town of Tempe outside the city of Larissa after midnight, as per the early reports. According to the rail operator, Hellenic Train, there were about 350 people travelling in that passenger train before the collision.
Due to the high-speed collision, many railway cars got derailed. In the passenger train also, multiple carriages got derailed, and at least 3 carriages caught on fire, of which 2 cars exploded on fire and were completely damaged.
Fire service was alerted immediately after the collision and the people in nearby farms gathered. Videos of the collided trains started going viral immediately. Many volunteers gathered to support the rescue team for rescuing the passengers.
Fire crews lit up the area with powerful flood lights, and started hectically removing the wreckage as they were looking for survivors. Rescuers worked through the thick smoke using headlights, pulled out heavy metals, and searched for the trapped passengers. As per the local reports, about 250 survivors with minor or no injuries were transported to Thessaloniki on buses, and 40 injured passengers were taken to the hospital. Doctors in the hospitals of the nearby city of Larissa reported that at least 25 passengers had been seriously injured.
Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis said that the evacuation process was ongoing and was being carried out under very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision between the two trains. He said that hospitals that were used to treat burns were alerted, and numerous ambulances were brought to the scene immediately.
Costas Agorastos, the regional governor of the central Thessaly area, described the situation by saying that it was a very powerful collision that was hard to describe and that marked the night as terrible. He also said that they were getting cranes and special lifting equipment to clear the completely smashed carriages and the debris that had flung all around the crash site.
Survivors said that many passengers were thrown out of the windows of the rail car due to heavy impact, and many fought their way to free themselves to make it out of the wrecked train.
A local resident who was one of the first to arrive at the scene said that the trains were completely destroyed and that disoriented people were trying to escape out of the rear cars as he arrived. He also said people were screaming and were naturally very scared. They were looking around, searching, as they didn’t know where they were, he said.
The reason behind the collision is yet to be known. Police questioned the two train officials, but they were not detained. The governor said that the two trains were speeding and that the drivers didn’t realize that they were on the same track until the last moments. A volunteer rescue worker said that they were living through a tragedy, and were pulling out people, either alive, injured, or dead.