Home News At least 32 dead, 85 injured after trains collide in northern Greece

At least 32 dead, 85 injured after trains collide in northern Greece


A passenger train and a freight train collided in northern Greece, killing at least 32 people and injuring 85 others as plumes of smoke filled the night sky.

The crash occurred shortly before midnight near Tempe Valley in northern Greece, the Hellenic Fire Service said. At least 53 of those injured were still hospitalized as of 6:15 a.m. local time.

The passenger train was riding along a route between two popular tourist cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, when it collided with the cargo train about 255 miles north of Athens. Some of the injured were transported to hospitals in the nearby city of Larissa, and at least 150 firefighters and dozens of emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene.

“The evacuation process is ongoing and is being carried out under very difficult conditions due to the severity of the collision between the two trains,” fire service spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis said in an emergency briefing.

Footage from the crash site showed flames surrounding the derailed train cars, as well as the swirling lights of firetrucks and ambulances nearby. At least two train cars appeared to be tipped sideways near the track, while one train car had severely dented and gaping windows, as firefighters worked to extricate passengers.

Damage to the train cars was so severe that crane trucks were being used to assist with vehicle extrication, Varthakoyiannis said. He added that search-and-rescue operations were still underway just before sunrise Wednesday morning, and that rescue workers were focusing on two overturned passenger trains.

Authorities were transporting bodies to hospitals for identification, and at least 194 surviving passengers, including those seeking treatment, were transferred to Thessaloniki by bus.

The cause of the collision is unknown.

Railway safety in Greece has been under scrutiny in recent years, and the accident late Tuesday marks one of the country’s deadliest in decades. A 1968 train collision in the ancient coastal city of Corinth left at least 34 people dead and dozens injured.

Greece had the highest overall railway fatality rate among 29 countries studied in a 2022 European Union Agency for Railways safety report, and the seventh-highest fatality rate for passengers. At least 11 fatal train collisions or derailments have been recorded in Greece between 1980 and 2019, an analysis of Europe’s main railway lines by the Center for Transport Studies at Imperial College London said.

At least three people were also killed on a route from Athens to Thessaloniki in 2017, after a train derailed and crashed into a home, according to Reuters.