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HomeWorldTrain crash wreckage scoured as anger rises across Greece

Train crash wreckage scoured as anger rises across Greece


Government blamed for failing railway safety as several Greeks wait to hear if their relatives are among the victims.

Thousands of Greek students protest for a third straight day as anger mounts after the country’s worst train tragedy, which left at least 57 people dead.

In Athens, some 2,000 people, mostly university students of the same age as the victims of the accident, gathered in the city center on Friday.

Similar protests were to be held in Larissa, near the site of the disaster, Thessaloniki and Patras.

Black sheets were draped at the entrances of several universities. In Larissa, white roses were thrown on the tracks of the local train station.

Frustration boils as protesters challenge successive governments for failing to improve rail safety.

The country was shaken on Tuesday when a passenger train collided with a freight train shortly before midnight after running for miles on the same track.

Many of those on board, estimated to be more than 350 people, are still missing. Most of the victims were students in their 20s returning from a long weekend.

Authorities suggested “human error” to explain the train collision, which destroyed two carriages and caught fire in a buffet car, leaving many victims trapped.

The Larissa station master who was on duty at the time of the disaster has been arrested and charged with negligent homicide. He has accepted partial responsibility for not diverting the trains and faces life in prison if convicted.

Train unionists say safety problems on the Athens-Thessaloniki railway line have been known for years.

The railway federation denounced a “disrespect for the Greek railway network by successive governments over the years, which led to this tragic outcome”.

‘I have no information’

Meanwhile, salvage teams spent a third day searching the wreckage.

The force of the head-on collision and resulting fire made the task of determining the death toll more difficult. Officials match parts of dismembered and burned bodies with tissue samples to determine the number.

The remains were returned to families in closed coffins after the victims were identified through DNA samples from next of kin.

Relatives of passengers still listed as missing waited outside a hospital in the central city of Larissa for news.

Among them was Mirella Ruci, whose 22-year-old son, Denis, remained missing.

“My son is not on any official list so far and I have no information. I beg anyone who saw him, in train car 5, seat 22, to contact me if they saw him,” Ruci, who struggled not to let her voice crack, told reporters.

Health Ministry officials said all victim identifications would be conducted by comparing DNA samples from family members due to the condition of so many of the bodies.

Protesters across the country were expected to hold silent demonstrations on Friday night, as unions urged railway workers to strike for a second consecutive day.

In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, police said a protest of about 2,000 protesters turned violent on Thursday, with protesters throwing stones and petrol bombs.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is seeking re-election this year, said on Wednesday after visiting the crash site: “Everything shows that the drama was unfortunately mainly due to tragic human error.”

Government spokesman Yiannis Economou said an inquiry will examine “chronic delays in the implementation of railway works – delays caused by chronic public sector malaise and decades of failure”.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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