“There was panic … the fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, fire was right and left” – Stergios Minenis, a survivor from the train crash.
Three days of national mourning have been declared as the death toll from yesterdays train crash in Greece has risen to 36, and is still expected to rise. When the two trains impacted, fires began immediately in the first two cars. Fires in the first one reached upwards of 1,300 degrees celsius. The high temperatures have made it difficult to identify bodies, and also to identify how many people have died.
The local station master, a 56 year old man in charge of signalling, has been arrested. He is being charged causing mass deaths through negligence and causing grievous bodily harm through negligence. Both trains were travelling toward each other on the same track. The station master has attributed it to a possible technical failure, and denies responsibility for the crash. Automatic signalling around the area of the crash apparently was not working at the time, said Yiannis Ditsas, head of the Greek railway workers union.
Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis has submitted his resignation over the crisis. He said he was unable to solve the “long standing failures” of a railway system that is “not fit for the 21st century”.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has visited the crash site. He was supposed to visit Thessaloniki today, but has postponed it to instead see the wreckage.
“It’s an unthinkable tragedy. Our thoughts today are with the relatives of the victims” -Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis