At least 36 people are dead and upwards of 80 others injured after a freight train and a passenger train collided head-on in Greece on Tuesday, and an arrest has been made in connection to the deadly crash officials said.
The crash occurred right before midnight in Tempi, located along the Athens-Thessaloniki route at the entrance to the Vale of Tempe, which separates the northern Greek regions of Thessaly and Macedonia, according to ABC News.
Greek Trains Running On The Same Track Crash Head-On, Killing Dozens & Injuring At Least 80
Somehow, both trains were on the same track and running towards each other, with the force of the collision derailing several train cars, causing some to burst into flames, according to Greece’s Hellenic Fire Service.
Roughly 350 were onboard the passenger train, traveling northbound from Athens to Thessaloniki, Greek rail operator Hellenic Train reports.
The Hellenic Fire Service added that 150 firefighters, 32 police officers, 15 patrol cars, and 40 ambulances responded to the scene.
At least 36 people are dead after a train collision in northern Greece.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 1, 2023
Rescuers were still searching for survivors as of Wednesday morning, with officials using cranes to life the derailed train cars, namely the first two carriages which had “overturned” and were “the most difficult to extricate,” per a Hellenic Fire Service spokesperson.
The passenger train’s restaurant car ended up flipping on top of two other cars, causing a fire to break out with temperatures reaching upwards of 2,372 degrees Fahrenheit, “making it difficult to identify the people inside,” the spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.
Arrest Made In Connection With The Crash’s Ongoing Investigation, Greek Authorities Say
A 59-year-old Greek citizen – who has not yet been publicly named – was arrested in connection with the crash’s ongoing investigation, according to Greece’s Hellenic Police.
It was still unclear exactly how the Greek citizen was connected to the crash as of Wednesday.
Authorities are still trying to identify the some of the deceased, with the bodies having been taken to a nearby general hospital in the city of Larissa, per a Hellenic Police spokesperson.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 1, 2023
Among the injured, 72 are still hospitalized with six remaining in critical condition.
The rest of the injured parties have been treated and released, according to the Hellenic Fire Service.
Greek Government Declares Three Days Of National Mourning, Transport Minister Resigns Following Crash
In the wake of the tragedy, the Greek government declared three days of national mourning, ABC News reports.
Meanwhile, the Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis announced his resignation after visiting the crash site on Wednesday “as a minimum sign of respect” to the victims.
“When something this tragic happens, it is impossible to go on as if it didn’t happen,” Karamanlis wrote in a post on Facebook. “This is called political responsibility.”