Greece: At least 26 dead and 85 injured in a collision between two trains

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Greece: at least 26 dead and 85 injured in collision between two trains

Aerial view of the collision between two trains between Athens and Thessaloniki.

At least 26 people were killed and 85 others were were injured on Tuesday evening after two trains, one carrying goods and the other carrying passengers, collided between Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece, authorities said.

At least 26 people have been found dead so far, a spokesman for the Greek fire service told a press conference, adding that the rescue operation was still ongoing. 85 people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, he added. A previous report put the death toll at least 16.

The spokesman confirmed that three cars derailed at the town of Larissa, in the center of the country , after a freight train collided with another convoy carrying 350 passengers.

One of the wagons caught fire and several people became trapped, according to the public television channel Ert.

On the Skai television channel, Kostas Agorastos, the governor from the region, said that more than 250 passengers were transferred by bus to Thessaloniki. The collision was very violent. […] Unfortunately the number of injured and dead is likely to be high, he continued.

The evacuation of travelers is continuing in very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision, fire department spokesman Vassilis Varthakogiannis announced.

A government crisis meeting has been called, while the circumstances of the accident remain unknown.

Rescuers wearing headlamps worked in thick smoke, pulling pieces of sheet metal from wrecked cars to search for trapped people.

We experienced something very shocking, said Lazos, a passenger interviewed by Protothema newspaper. I am not injured but I am stained with the blood of other people who were injured next to me, he said.

The two hospitals in the Larissa region were requisitioned to accommodate the many injured, according to the local media Onlarissa.

With information from Agence France-Presse, Reuters, and La Presse canadienne

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