Crypto News

Greece seeks answers over deadliest train tragedy

LARISSA, Greece: A station master on duty during Greece’s deadliest train crash is scheduled to testify in downtown Larissa on Thursday about the disaster that claimed dozens of lives and plunged the country into mourning.

The 59-year-old will appear before a prosecutor to explain how a passenger train with over 350 people on board was allowed to travel several kilometers on the same route as a freight train.

The two trains collided near a tunnel outside Larissa before midnight on Tuesday. Two wagons were crushed and a third caught fire, trapping people inside.

“It was a student train full of kids … in their 20s,” Costas Bargiotas, chief orthopedist at Larissa General Hospital, told Skai TV.

“It was really shocking … the carriages crumpled like paper,” he said.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – who will seek re-election this year, with ballots expected in April – said it was a “horrific, unprecedented train wreck” in Greece and promised the tragedy would be “fully” investigated.

– “Tragic human error” –

“Everything shows that unfortunately the drama stems mainly from a tragic human error,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address on Wednesday after visiting the disaster site.

The authorities have declared three days of national mourning.

Passengers have described scenes of horror and chaos, dodging glass and debris as the train overturned and being forced to smash windows to disembark.

“It was a nightmare…I’m still shaking,” passenger Angelos, 22, told AFP, adding that the collision felt “like a powerful earthquake.”

Rescue workers at the scene said they had never dealt with a disaster of this magnitude before. Many bodies were charred beyond recognition and some passengers were identified by body parts.

“Unfortunately, some of these individuals can only be identified via DNA,” Larissa Mayor Apostolos Kalogiannis told Skai TV.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life,” said a rescue worker who emerged from the rubble.

Several people are still believed to be missing – including two Cypriot nationals – although authorities have not released an official estimate.

Seventeen biological samples were collected from remains and from 23 relatives looking for a match, police said.

“It was the terror train,” Pavlos Aslanidis, whose son is among the missing along with a friend, told reporters.

Rescuers were forced to call off the search late Wednesday to give exhausted crews and crane operators some respite.

Greece’s transport minister handed in his resignation just hours after the accident.

“When something so tragic happens, we cannot carry on as if nothing happened,” Kostas Karamanlis said in a public statement.

However, rail unionists said the safety deficiencies of the Athens-Thessaloniki railway had been known for years.

In an open letter last month, train staff said track safety systems were incomplete and poorly maintained.

A safety officer resigned last year, warning that infrastructure improvements that had been pending since 2016 were incomplete and that train speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour were unsafe.

Five years after Greek rail operator Trainose was sold to Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane and became Hellenic Train, safety systems on the Athens-Thessaloniki route are still not fully automated.

Protests took place on Wednesday evening at Thessaloniki train station, in the city of Larissa and outside the Athens offices of the Italian-owned railway company Hellenic Train, with protesters throwing stones at the building and the police.

In Larissa, protesters held a silent vigil and brought white roses to form the word Tempe, the name of the valley where the accident occurred.

Nikos Savva, a medical student from Cyprus, told AFP the disaster was only a matter of time.

“The rail network looked problematic, with exhausted, poorly paid staff,” he said.

The station operator faces involuntary manslaughter charges Thursday and faces life in prison if convicted.

But Savva said the man “shouldn’t be paying the price for an entire ailing system.”

“This is an unacceptable accident. We have known this situation for 30 years,” said Larissa’s doctor Bargiotas.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button