The death toll in the train crash rose to 57 as anger boiled over in Greece

P2playnews – Anger grew in Greece over poor rail safety on Thursday as the death toll rose to 57 in one of the country’s worst train accidents in years.

demonstrators took to the streets after a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train in Tempi, near the city of Larissa, on Tuesday night. In the Greek capital Athens,
demonstrators clashed with police, the Greek transport minister resigned after the tragedy and the railway workers’ union went on strike, accusing the government of disrespect in the industry.
8 people are still in hospital after the crash, which sent carriages overturned and debris on fire. Six of the injured are in critical condition due to head injuries and severe burns, state broadcaster ERT reported on Thursday.
demonstrators gathered again on Thursday evening in front of the Athens headquarters of Hellenic Train, the Greek railway company, for a demonstration organized by student and labor unions.
The police were already at the headquarters of the Greek train before the demonstrators arrived. The demonstration was peaceful after Wednesday’s disturbance, in which demonstrators clashed with police.

Most of the passengers involved in the accident were young, the local hospital told ERT. The accident happened right after the holiday week. According to the Fire Service,
search and rescue operations will continue on Thursday and Friday at the site of the accident in Tempi, near the city of Larissa.
Relatives of the missing are still waiting for news about their loved ones while identification continues at Larissa General Hospital.
Speaking to Greek media earlier, Dimitris Bournazis, who is still trying to get news about his father and brother, said no one had given him any information. Bournazis said he tried to contact the company to find out which train his relatives were on at the time of the accident. He said he called the Hellenic Train office three times, but no one called him back.

“The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health came here yesterday. Why? What to do? What to explain? Where are they today?” Bournazis told Greek broadcaster SKAI, adding that “no one gave us any information, no one knows how many people were actually inside.”
“We cannot blame just one person for this mistake. Where is everyone else now? They are all waiting for the election to speak,” he said.
Speaking to Greek public broadcaster ERT, passenger Andreas Alikaniotis, who was in another carriage at the time of the collision, described the moments after the accident.
“We broke the glass, which was already cracked, and threw the luggage out of the carriage so that we could land somewhere soft,” he told ERT, describing how he helped about 10 people escape.
“We jumped 3-
meters,” he added, ” first those who are more seriously injured, and then we who are less injured.”
Alikaniotis added that he remembers pulling two or three girls up and helping them reach the window to jump. “There was panic,” he added.

As part of the investigation of the case, the station manager of the station in the city of Larissa was arrested due to the collision.
On Tuesday, an audio recording was heard of the station master’s order to ignore a train conductor’s red light.
“Go through the red light exit to the Neon Poron light entrance,” the train conductor is heard saying.
“Vasilis, am I ready?” replies the coachman, to which the coachman says “Go, go“.
In another conversation, the station master tells an employee to keep one train on the same track.
“Shall we translate it now?” asks the employee.
“No, no, because 156
is on that line,” says the station master.
The manager of the station is accused of negligence in mass deaths and negligence in causing serious bodily injury.
After his arrest, he blamed the crash on a technical failure, but later admitted that he “made a mistake.”

“Pain has turned to anger”

Rail passenger safety in Greece is poor compared to other European countries and, according to a report published in 2022, it has the highest number of rail deaths per million train kilometers between 2018 and 2020 out of the continent’s 28. countries . From the European Union Railway Agency.
In an emergency meeting, the Greek Railway Workers’ Union unanimously decided to launch a 2
-hour strike on Thursday to highlight poor working conditions and ongoing staff shortages.
He accused the federal government of neglecting the railways to cause the tragic accident and said “more permanent staff, better training and the introduction of mainly modern safety systems will be permanently ruined”.
Separately, another 2
-hour strike was announced by Greek subway workers, who said in a statement: “There are no words to describe such a tragedy.”
Greece’s transport minister Kostas Karamanlis said the railway system inherited by the government “did not meet 21st century standards” when he resigned on Wednesday.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised speech after visiting the crash site that the crash was “primarily” the result of “tragic human error.”
He said that the decision of the minister of transport to resign is honorable and added that the directors of the Hellenic Railway Organization and its subsidiary ERGOSEN also resigned.

Condolences came from various parts of the world, during three days of mourning in Greece.
Britain’s King Charles III said in a statement that he and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, were “overwhelmingly shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the terrible accident”.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the terrible accident near Larissa last night. France stands with the Greeks.”