Athens, Greece Rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors after a head-on collision between two trains in central Greece killed dozens and injured scores more.
At least 29 people were killed and more than 85 injured when a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train on Tuesday evening, just before midnight, in Tempe, central Greece, near the city of Larissa, the Hellenic Fire Service said. .
“We just heard a bang…the car (the train) started to turn, before it ended up sideways when we managed to get out,” a passenger told Greek public station ERT.
Another passenger said, “Ten terrifying seconds went by with the fire, you couldn’t see so much smoke.”
The Greek fire service said recovery efforts were underway and the death toll was expected to rise.
The passenger train was traveling from the capital, Athens, to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, which is famous for its festivals and vibrant cultural life. The collision follows a nationwide carnival weekend that ended with a public holiday on Monday.
Pictures broadcast by Greece’s state-owned public broadcaster showed columns of thick smoke billowing from toppled vehicles and long lines of rescue vehicles next to them.
Meanwhile, rescue workers carrying torches searched the carriages for survivors while paramedics led the shocked passengers from the scene.
Pictures also showed the arrival of some surviving passengers in Thessaloniki.
Greek fire service spokesman Vassilis Varthakogiannis said 194 passengers were safely transported to Thessaloniki.
He added that at least 150 firefighters with 17 vehicles and 40 ambulances are participating in the rescue operation.
The Greek railway company, Hellenic Train, said in a press release that there was a “head-on collision between two trains: a freight train and an IC 62 train that had departed from Athens for Thessaloniki”.
Authorities said it was not yet clear what caused the collision.
Hellenic Train, the main Greek railway company, was acquired by Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane in 2017 and is now wholly controlled by Trenitalia. The company operates both passenger and freight transportation. The main line on which daily transport links are provided is Athens-Thessaloniki.
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