(CMR) At least 36 people were killed when a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train on Tuesday evening in Greece.
Rescue workers continued searching for survivors on Wednesday. Some 66 people, mostly young people, were being treated for their injuries in a hospital, with six in intensive care units.
The two trains involved in the fatal collision were traveling on the same track for many kilometers before the incident occurred, state-owned public broadcaster ERT reported Wednesday. The passenger train had reportedly changed lanes and switched to a cargo track before it collided head-on with a freight train.
Many of the victims were thought to be university students on their way back from a long holiday weekend.
“It's an unthinkable tragedy. Our thoughts today are with the relatives of the victims,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said while visiting the crash site.
“I can guarantee one thing: We will find out the causes of this tragedy, and we will do all that's in our power so that something like this never happens again,” Mitsotakis said.
Passengers scrambled to escape the wreckage of the collision. “There was panic … the fire was immediate, as we were turning over, we were being burned, fire was right and left,” said 28-year-old Stergios Minenis, according to Reuters.
“We just heard a bang… the (train) car started spinning before ending up sideways when we managed to exit,” another male passenger told Greek ERT.
“It was 10 nightmarish seconds with fire; you couldn’t see much from the smoke,” said a second passenger.