Three Days of Mourning Declared as Greece Train Crash Death Toll Rises

“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.

Wreckage from the crash-site. The first car can be seen, completely destroyed. It was there where temperatures rose to 1,300 celsius (photo from REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis).

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.

Prime Minister Mitsotakis at the wreckage (Photo from REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis)

“It’s an unthinkable tragedy. Our thoughts today are with the relatives of the victims” -Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis


Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien is a published journalist and historicist with over six years of experience in freelance journalism and research. His primary expertise is in African conflict and politics, with additional specialization in Israeli/Palestinian and Armenia/Azerbaijan conflicts. Sébastien serves as the deputy desk chief for Africa.


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