In a blazing collision early on Wednesday in northern Greece, a passenger train and an approaching freight train crashed, killing 26 people and wounding at least 85 others, according to Fire Service officials.
Following the incident near Tempe, around 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens, several automobiles came to a stop, some of which derailed, and at least three caught fire. In the nearby city of Larissa, hospital officials reported that at least 25 persons suffered critical injuries.
According to Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis, “the evacuation process is ongoing and is being carried out under tough conditions due to the severity of the collision between the two trains.”
He said the area’s burn victim hospital units had been notified, and dozens of ambulances were helping with the rescue operation.
Rescuers wearing headlamps searched for trapped victims while retrieving twisted metal from the rail cars while working in dense smoke.
Buses were used to carry passengers to Thessaloniki, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the event, if they had minor injuries or were unscathed. As they arrived, police took their identities to find anyone who could be missing.
As he exited one of the buses, a teen survivor who declined to give his name told Greek reporters that shortly before the collision, he felt a tremendous braking, saw sparks, and then there was a quick stop.
He remarked, clearly startled, “Our carriage didn’t derail, but the ones in front did and were shattered.”
He continued by saying that the first car caught fire and that he had to escape by smashing the window of the fourth car with a bag.
Costas Agorastos, the regional governor of the Thessaly region, described the accident as “extremely forceful” and said it was “a tragic night” in remarks to state television.
“The train’s front end was destroyed. To clear the debris and lift the train cars, cranes will be sent in along with specialized lifting equipment. Around the crash site, debris has been thrown everywhere.
According to officials, the army was asked for assistance.
Over 350 passengers were on board the northbound passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki at the time of the crash, according to rail operator Hellenic Train.
WATCH: Multiple cars derailed and at least three burst into flame after a passenger train collided with an oncoming freight train in northern Greece early Wednesday https://t.co/dYJLINcbjD pic.twitter.com/nVBHy5tKJH
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) March 1, 2023