Anger in Greece over poor railway security grew on Thursday, as authorities launched audio wherein a prepare driver concerned in one of many nation’s worst prepare crashes lately was informed to disregard a pink mild.
Demonstrators poured onto the streets after the head-on collision between a passenger prepare carrying greater than 350 folks and a freight prepare on Tuesday night in Tempi, close to town of Larissa. The demise toll from the crash rose to 57 late on Thursday.
Protesters clashed with police within the capital Athens, the nation’s transport minister resigned within the wake of the tragedy and a rail staff’ union is happening strike, accusing the federal government of “disrespect” within the sector.
One other 48 folks stay in hospital because of the crash, which left toppled carriages and scorched particles in its wake. Six of the injured being handled are in essential situation on account of head wounds and severe burns, public broadcaster ERT reported Thursday.
After a prepare station supervisor in Larissa was arrested in connection to the collision, Greek authorities on Thursday made public putting dispatch recordings that present one of many prepare drivers receiving directions to disregard a pink mild.
“Proceed by pink visitors mild exit till visitors mild entry of Neon Poron,” the station grasp is heard saying.
“Vasilis, am I good to go?” the prepare driver responds, to which the prepare grasp says “Go, go.”
In a second dialog, the station grasp will be heard ordering an worker to maintain one of many trains on the identical observe.
“Shall I flip it now?” the worker asks.
“No, no, as a result of 1564 is on this route,” the station grasp says.
The station grasp has been charged with mass deaths by negligence and inflicting grievous bodily hurt by negligence. Upon arrest he blamed the collision on a technical fault, although later admitted to “making a mistake.”
Protesters gathered exterior the central Athens headquarters of Greek rail firm Hellenic Prepare once more on Thursday night in an illustration organized by scholar and employee unions.
Police already had a presence exterior the Hellenic Prepare headquarters earlier than the demonstrators arrived. The protest was peaceable, following unrest on Wednesday wherein demonstrators clashed with police.
Many of the passengers concerned within the accident had been younger, a neighborhood hospital informed ERT. The accident got here quickly after a vacation weekend.
Search and rescue operations will proceed on Thursday and Friday on the web site of the crash, based on the Fireplace Service.
In the meantime, kinfolk of these lacking are nonetheless awaiting information relating to their family members because the identification course of continues at Larissa Common Hospital.
Talking earlier to Greek media, Dimitris Bournazis, who’s attempting to get information about his father and brother, stated nobody has given him any info. Bournazis stated he was attempting to contact the corporate to seek out out the place on the prepare his kinfolk had been sitting on the time of the crash. He stated he referred to as the places of work of Hellenic Prepare thrice however nobody has referred to as him again.
“The prime minister and the well being minister got here right here yesterday. Why? To do what? To elucidate what? The place are they right this moment?” Bournazis informed Greek broadcaster SKAI, including that “nobody has given us any info, nobody is aware of how many individuals actually had been inside.”
“We can’t solely blame one particular person for this due to a mistake. The place is everybody else now? All of them await the election to talk,” he stated.
Chatting with ERT, passenger Andreas Alikaniotis, who was within the second carriage in the course of the collision, described the moments following the crash.
“What we did was to interrupt the glass, which was already cracked, and to throw the baggage exterior the carriage, so we will land someplace mushy,” he informed ERT, describing how he helped round 10 folks escape.
“We jumped 3 to 4 meters,” he added, “first the extra critically injured after which us with lighter accidents”
Alikaniotis added that he remembers pulling up two or three ladies and serving to them get to the window to leap. “There was panic,” he added.
Greece has a weak document of railway passenger security in contrast with different nations in Europe, recording the very best railway fatality fee per million prepare kilometers from 2018 to 2020 amongst 28 nations on the continent, based on a 2022 report from the European Union Company for Railways.
In a unprecedented assembly, the Greek federation of rail staff determined unanimously to launch the 24-hour strike on Thursday to spotlight poor working situations and persistent understaffing.
It accused the federal authorities of “disrespect” in the direction of railways for inflicting the crash, saying “extra everlasting employees, higher coaching and primarily the implementation of contemporary safety programs, are completely thrown within the bin.”
Individually, one other 24-hour strike was introduced by Greek metro staff, who stated in an announcement: “There are not any phrases to explain such tragedy.”
Greek transport minister Kostas Karamanlis stated the railway system the federal government inherited was “less than twenty first century requirements” as he stepped down from his position Wednesday.
In a televised handle after visiting the crash web site, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated the collision was “primarily” due “to tragic human error.”
He stated the transport minister’s choice to resign was honorable, and added that the heads of Hellenic Railways Group and its subsidiary ERGOSE have additionally submitted their resignations.
Condolences have poured in from internationally, whereas a three-day interval of mourning is below manner in Greece.
Britain’s King Charles stated in an announcement that he and his spouse Camilla, Queen Consort, have been “most shocked and profoundly saddened by the information of the dreadful accident.”
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “My ideas exit to the households of the victims of the horrible accident that happened final night time close to Larissa. France stands alongside the Greeks.”
Leave a Reply