A passenger train carrying hundreds of people collided at high speed with an oncoming freight train in a fiery wreckage in northern Greece, killing 32 and injuring at least 85.
Several train cars derailed and at least three caught fire after the collision near the town of Tempe just before midnight Tuesday.
Rescuers lit up the scene with floodlights before dawn on Wednesday as they frantically searched the twisted, smoking wreckage for survivors who said several passengers had been thrown through the windows after the impact.
They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train gave way and crashed into a field next to the tracks near a gorge about 380 km north of Athens, where there are major highway and rail tunnels.
“There were a lot of large pieces of steel,” said Vassilis Polyzos, a resident who was one of the first to arrive. “Both trains have been completely destroyed.”
He said dazed and disoriented people escaped from the back cars of the train when he arrived.
“People were obviously scared, very scared,” he said. “They were looking around and searching. They didn’t know where they were.”
The trains crashed just before the Vale of Tempe, a gorge that separates the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.
Rescue workers with headlights worked in thick smoke, pulling pieces of mutilated metal from the cars to search for trapped people.
Others scanned the field with flashlights and checked under the wreckage. It is believed several deaths were found in the restaurant area at the front of the passenger train.
Hospital officials in the nearby town of Larissa said at least 25 of those injured had serious injuries.