The death toll from the head-on collision of two trains in central Greece has risen to at least 40 people, with many more missing, according to the state broadcaster, while several of the wounded remained in critical condition.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) reported that 50 to 60 people were still unaccounted.
As rescue workers stepped up efforts to find survivors amid the still-smoking wreckage – hours after the crash – the Greek fire brigade said 66 of the estimated 85 people hurt in the collision had been taken to hospitals in nearby Larissa. Six are in intensive care.
“It’s an unspeakable tragedy,” the government’s spokesperson, Yiannis Oikonomou, told reporters. “Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, the missing and the injured.”
The trains – a passenger service travelling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki, and a cargo train on its way from Thessaloniki to Larissa – collided head-on outside the town of Tempe shortly before midnight on Tuesday. The train carrying 342 passengers and 10 staff had set off from the Greek capital four hours earlier.
Many of the victims were described as students who were gathered in the first two carriages, which sustained the full force of the impact of the crash and had been “almost completely destroyed”. The second carriage served as the train’s canteen.
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