OAN Geraldyn Berry
1:38 PM PT – Wednesday, March 1, 2023
A deadly head-on collision between two trains in Greece has resulted in at least 38 people dead and 72 people injured.
Head of the Intensive Care Unit at Larissa General Hospital, Apostolos Komnos, shared that a majority of “the people on board were young.” This comes as the country has had a poor track record of railway safety. Reportedly, Greece has the highest overall fatality rate.
Greek Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Varthakogiannis stated in an updated briefing that rescuers were in the process of identifying the deceased. According to state-owned public broadcaster ERT, there were over 150 firefighters and emergency personnel on the scene.
On Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the site of the deadly crash, in the area of Tempi, central Greece.
As a result, in relation to the tragedy, a station manager was arrested and the Larissa police department shared that he has been charged with mass deaths through, and causing grievous bodily harm through negligence.
The Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying the railway system the government inherited was “not up to 21st century standards.”
“It is a fact that we received the Greek railway system in a state that is not up to 21st century standards,” Karamanlis said. “Unfortunately, our efforts have not been sufficient to prevent such a bad incident. And this is very heavy for all of us and me personally. I hand in my resignation as Transport and Infrastructure Minister. It is what I feel is my responsibility to do as the minimum sign of respect to the memory of the people who died so unjustly.”
The prime minister said that the collision was caused by a “tragic human error.”
In addition to the transport minister resigning, Mitsotakis has also confirmed that the heads of Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and its subsidiary ERGOSE have submitted their resignations.
European officials and leaders alike have extended their sympathy after Tuesday’s event.
Starting Wednesday, Greece has declared a three-day mourning period with flags at half-mast.
342 passengers and 10 employees of the rail operator Hellenic Train were on the passenger train when it crashed into a freight train before midnight. The accident occurred roughly four hours north of Athens.