Disasters & Accidents

Experts comb Greece train wreckage for DNA to identify victims

Athens, Mar 3 (EFE).- Forensic experts on Friday were scouring for biological samples in the mangled wreckage of two trains that collided head-on in central Greece this week killing at least 57 people.

Officials are now working on identifying passengers who remain unaccounted for or those confirmed to have died in what was Greece’s deadliest rail disaster, Vasilios Vathrakogianni, a Hellenic fire service spokesman, and Konstantia Dimoglidou, police spokeswoman, said Friday.

The collision occurred at just before midnight on Tuesday in Tempi when the northbound passenger train and the southbound freight train, which had two people on board, smashed into one another while traveling opposite directions on the same track.

Vathrakogianni added that the front three wagons of the passenger train, which were crushed in the crash Tuesday in Tempi, to the north of the city of Larissa, had been removed by a crane and may undergo further inspection by police.

So far, 36 of the people confirmed to have died in the high-speed collision had been identified using samples taken from the crash site, said Dimoglidou.

A total of 38 people remain in hospital, seven of those in intensive care, she said, while 11 families have been informed of their loved ones’ death in the crash.

Around 350 people, many of them students returning from a long weekend, and 10 staff were on the passenger train traveling from Athens to Thessaloniki on Tuesday, according to operator Hellenic Train, although authorities have pointed out that those who boarded in Larissa may have bought a ticket on board and would not feature in the official list.

The station master in Larissa has been charged with multiple counts of negligent manslaughter.

Officials are to examine what caused a large explosion and devastating fire when the trains collided, according to Greek public broadcaster ERT, which shared CCTV footage of the disaster.

While the country observes an official period of mourning, with national flags lowered to half mast, public anger continues to grow.

Fresh protests against perceived government negligence are scheduled to take place in central Athens and Thessaloniki on Friday. EFE


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