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Greece train crash leaves dozens dead

March 1, 2023

At least 32 people have been killed in central Greece after two trains collided, with dozens more injured, according to the fire brigade.

A man walks at the site of a crash, where two trains collided, near the city of Larissa, Greece
The accident occurred in near the city of LarissaImage: Kostas Mantziaris/REUTERS

A passenger train collided with a cargo train in central Greece late on Tuesday, leaving at least 32 people dead and "tens of people" injured, according to the local fire brigade.

The local media is calling it the "worst train accident Greece has ever seen."

What we know so far

The two trains — a passenger train traveling from Athens to Thessaloniki and a cargo train from Thessaloniki to Larissa — collided near the central city of Larissa, Konstantinos Agorastos, governor of the broader Thessaly region, told SKAI TV.

The fire brigade initially said 16 people had been killed, but the death toll has since risen to 32. 

Firefighters operate at the site of a crash, where two trains collided, near the city of Larissa, Greece
A major emergency response was launched, with police, 40 firefighters and around 30 ambulances dispatched to the sceneImage: Thanos Floulis/REUTERS

"The collision was very strong," he said, adding that the first four carriages of the passenger train had been derailed.

The first two carriages were "almost completely destroyed," Agorastos said, before adding that around 250 passengers had been safely transported to Thessaloniki on buses. Fire brigade spokesperson Vassilis Vathrakogiannis later said that 194 people had been evacuated from the scene in buses. Twenty six of them were taken to the hospital.

One passenger, Angelos Tsiamouras, told public television station ERT the accident felt "like an earthquake."

"The evacuation of passengers is under way in very difficult conditions given the severity of the collision of the two trains," Varthakogiannis said in a televised address.

What caused the collision? 

The cause of the collision was initially unclear.

The accident occurred on a line connecting Athens and Thessaloniki which was modernized within the last year. 

Railway employees told Greek broadcaster Real FM that there were still significant problems with the electric coordination of traffic control despite the modernization.

Greece's railway, Hellenic Train, is operated by Italy's state-owned railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.

A deadly train crash in 2017 occurred in Greece after an express train carrying 70 passengers from Athens to Thessaloniki derailed in the north of the country.

Authorities blamed the speed of the train for the crash.

mk/jsi (AFP, Reuters, dpa)