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the search for a sinister train moves “centimeter by centimeter”



THESSALONIKI, Greece – Emergency crews drove through the mangled remains of a passenger train on Thursday, progressing “inch by inch” in their search for the dead from a head-on collision in northern Greece that killed at least 46 people. Railway workers have gone on strike to protest years of underfunding which they say has left the country’s rail system in a dangerous state.

The passenger train and a freight train crashed into each other late on Tuesday, crumpling the carriages into twisting knots of steel and forcing people to smash windows to escape. It was the deadliest accident on record in the country and more than 50 people remained hospitalized, most in the central Greek city of Larissa. Six of them were in intensive care.

Fire department spokesman Yiannis Artopios said the grim recovery effort was going “inch by inch”.

“We can see that there are more (bodies) of people there. Unfortunately, they are in very bad condition due to the collision,” Artopios told state television.


The cause of the crash is still unclear. A station master arrested after the collision was charged on Wednesday with multiple counts of negligent manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, as a forensic inquiry attempts to establish why the two trains were traveling in opposite directions on the same way.

Railway workers’ associations, meanwhile, have called for strikes, disrupting national rail services and the Athens Metro. They are protesting against working conditions and what they described as a dangerous failure in modernizing Greece’s rail system due to a lack of public investment during the deep financial crisis that lasted most of the previous decade and drove Greece to the brink of bankruptcy.

Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned over the crash, with his replacement tasked with setting up an independent investigation into the causes of the crash.

“Responsibility will be assigned,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address Wednesday evening after visiting the scene of the collision.

“We will work so that the words ‘never again’… do not remain an empty pledge. That, I promise you.

Supporters of the strike plan to demonstrate in central Athens later Thursday.


More than 300 people were on board the passenger train, many of them students returning from a holiday weekend and the annual carnival celebrations in Greece.

Andreas Alikaniotis, a 20-year-old crash survivor, described how he and his classmates escaped from a stabbing train carriage as the fire approached, smashing windows and throwing luggage on the floor at outside to use as a makeshift landing area.

“It was a steep fall, into a ditch,” Alikaniotis, injured in his knee, told reporters from his hospital bed in Larissa.

“The lights went out. And the light had come from the approaching fire and the flying sparks. The smoke was choking inside the wagon but also outside,” Alikaniotis said.

“I managed to stay calm and was one of the few who didn’t get seriously hurt,” he said. “My friends and I helped people out.”


Residents of Larissa lined up to donate blood, many waiting in the pouring rain for more than an hour, while the town’s hotel association provided free accommodation for relatives of crash victims and those who traveled to the city to provide DNA samples to help forensic police. experts identify the bodies. So far, nine bodies have been identified through genetic matches, authorities said.

Pope Francis and European leaders sent messages of sympathy following the crash. Among them was Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country is recovering from last month’s devastating earthquakes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent a message in Greek, writing: “The Ukrainian people share the pain of the families of the victims. We wish a speedy recovery to all injured.

Gatopoulos brought from Athens, Greece.

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