46 killed, dozens injured in train collision in Greece

ATHENS, Greece — A collision Tuesday between two trains in Greece claimed at least 46 lives and left dozens more injured, prompting the resignation of the country’s transport minister as crews searched for survivors.

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A passenger train carrying 350 people from Athens to Thessaloniki late on Tuesday collided with a cargo train traveling in the opposite direction on the same track, according to Reuters and The Associated Press.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday that the crash was caused by “tragic human error,” CNN reported. Authorities have arrested the stationmaster at the train’s last stop in Larissa on manslaughter by negligence charges, according to the AP and BBC News.

Stationmaster to appear in court

Update 9:05 a.m. EST March 2: A station manager in the city of Larissa is facing multiple counts of manslaughter and causing serious physical harm through negligence following Tuesday’s deadly two-train collision in Greece, according to The Associated Press.

The 59-year-old stationmaster has denied any wrongdoing and instead blamed the crash on a technical problem, BBC News reported. He has more than four decades of experience working on the railways, according to The Guardian.

The man is due to appear in court Thursday, BBC News reported.

Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Death toll rises, 10 people remain missing

Update 8:50 a.m. EST March 2: The number of people killed in Tuesday’s train crash has risen to 46 as authorities continue to search for 10 people who remain missing, according to the AP and Reuters.

Emergency crews on Thursday continued to cut through metal mangled by the crash, moving “centimeter by centimeter,” the AP reported. Fifty people remain hospitalized, including six people in intensive care units, according to the AP.

Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Train crash caused by ‘tragic human error,’ Greek prime minister says

Update 2 p.m. EST March 1: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday that “tragic human error” caused the deadly train crash that killed dozens of people one day earlier in Larissa, according to CNN.

Mitsotakis’ comments came in a televised address during which he also praised the country’s transport minister, Kostas Karamanlis, for resigning from his position earlier Wednesday.

“His stance honors him, as everything shows that the drama is unfortunately due to mainly tragic human error,” Mitsokis said, according to CNN. The prime minister said the heads of the Hellenic Railways Organization and its subsidiary also resigned, CNN reported.

Earlier, Mitsotakis called Tuesday’s crash “a horrific rail accident without precedent in our country,” the AP reported. He vowed to fully investigate the incident.

Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Greek transport minister resigns

Update 9:30 a.m. EST March 1: Greece’s transport minister, Kostas Karamanlis, announced his resignation on Wednesday, one day after a two-train collision claimed dozens of lives in Larissa.

Karamanlis announced his decision in a post on social media. He said he felt it was his “duty to act as a basic indication of respect” for those “unfairly” killed in the crash.

“From the bottom of my heart, I once again express my pain and sympathy to the victims’ families,” he wrote.

Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Stationmaster arrested; death toll rises

Update 7:48 a.m. EST March 1: The cause of the crash has still not been released but the stationmaster in Larissa has been arrested. Two others have been held for questioning, the AP reported.

The stationmaster was responsible for signaling and officials are trying to figure out why both trains were on the same track, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the death toll climbed overnight to 36 from the original 29.

Officials said some of the victims were found 100 to 130 feet from the wreckage, the AP reported. Survivors said that the crash threw fellow passengers through the train cars’ windows while others tried to free themselves from the debris.

“There was panic ... the fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, fire was right and left,” passenger Stergios Minenis said, according to Reuters.

The mangled train is making search efforts difficult, as it continued to smoke Wednesday and one car landed on top of the twisted metal of two others.

“Windows were being smashed and people were screaming ... One of the windows caved in from the impact of iron from the other train,” another passenger, who was not identified, told Reuters.

About 350 people were on board the passenger train at the time of the crash and many of them were students who were traveling from Greece’s Carnival, the AP and Reuters reported.

Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original report: Multiple cars of the train derailed with at least three of them catching fire. Hospital officials in Larissa said that at least 25 patients at their hospital have serious injuries.

Those who had minor injuries or were not hurt were taken by bus to Thessaloniki.

The army has also been contacted to assist at the crash site, officials said, according to the AP.

There were about 350 passengers on board when the crash happened, Hellenic Train said, according to the AP.

Circumstances behind the crash remain unclear, according to Reuters.