Railway disaster in Greece, Photo: Achilleas Siras Bob/EPA
At least 57 people were killed in a train crash near the central Greek city of Larissa on Tuesday night, police said on Thursday. Earlier, 43 deaths were reported.
Police spokeswoman Constantia Timoglidu told a press conference that 48 injured people were still in hospital, six of them in intensive care.
After a freight train collided with a passenger train, heavy equipment was brought to the scene to extricate the bodies of the victims from the crushed wagons. Hellenic Fire Service spokesperson Janis Artopios said rescue operations were progressing inch by inch.
We see more bodies there; “Unfortunately, they are in very bad shape,” Artobios said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the collision between the two trains was “the worst accident in the country’s history” and was “primarily caused by human error”.
Greek police arrested a station master from Larissa. Officials said he was suspected of causing death and grievous bodily harm by negligence. The man has pleaded not guilty, claiming that the speeding trains collided due to a technical fault.
After the disaster, Greek railway workers’ unions began a strike on Thursday, halting the operation of the country’s railways and the Athens metro. The railway workers are protesting working conditions and an “alarming lack of modernization of the railway system”, caused by a lack of investment in the sector during the deep financial crisis that rocked Greece for much of the previous decade.
“Unfortunately, our long-standing demands for full-time employment, better training and, above all, the implementation of new safety systems always end up in the tank,” the Greek Railway Workers Union said in a statement.
Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis has resigned and his successor will be tasked with conducting an independent investigation into the cause of the crash. (PAB)
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