At least 36 killed in rail crash in Greece

At least 36 killed in rail crash in Greece

A passenger train and a cargo train collided head-on in Greece on February 28 night, killing 36 people and injuring 85 as the country's deadliest rail crash in decades threw entire carriages off the tracks.

Sixty-six of those injured were hospitalised, six of whom are in intensive care, a fire official said.

The passenger train emerged from a tunnel. On the site, where rescuers were looking for more survivors, derailed carriages, badly damaged by broken windows and thick smoke, could be seen.

One passenger carriage stood on its side at almost ninety degrees from the rest of the wrecked train, with other derailed carriages tilting precariously.

Stergios Minenis, a 28-year-old passenger who jumped to safety from the wreckage, said the crash was nightmarish with a loud bang followed by a fire.

We were turning over in the wagon until we fell on our sides, there was panic, he said. The fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, the fire was right and left. There were about 250 passengers out of a total of 350 evacuated safely to Thessaloniki on buses.

Our priority is treating the injured, searching, and finding missing people in the debris, and providing psychological support to relatives of the victims by psychologists who are heading to the Larissa city, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said.

One passenger told state television stationer ERT that he escaped after breaking the train window with his suitcase.

It was like an earthquake, said Angelos Tsiamouras, another passenger, told ERT.

The two trains were on the same track when they crashed into each other.

A Hellenic Train official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that there is an ongoing investigation by a prosecutor and police into what caused the accident.