Deadly Greek prepare crash prompts strike; family give DNA5 min read
By Associated Press: Family members awaited the outcomes of DNA testing to establish victims of a prepare crash that killed practically 60 individuals in Greece, as employees went on strike Thursday saying the rail system is outdated, underfunded and harmful.
The authorities has blamed human error, and a railway official was charged with manslaughter.
Emergency crews, in the meantime, inched by way of the mangled stays of passenger carriages of their seek for the useless from Tuesday evening’s head-on collision, which has left 57 confirmed useless — a quantity that rescuers worry will improve.
The collision of a passenger prepare and a freight prepare was the nation’s deadliest ever, and greater than 48 individuals remained hospitalized — with six in intensive care — most within the central Greek metropolis of Larissa.
RESIDENTS LINE UP IN RAIN TO GIVE BLOOD
Larissa residents lined as much as give blood, many ready in heavy rain for greater than an hour, whereas town’s resort affiliation supplied free lodging to family of the crash victims.
READ | Rescuers comb wreckage of Greece’s deadliest prepare crash
DNA matching was going quick, with at the least 4 households — within the presence of psychologists — receiving affirmation Thursday that their family have been among the many useless, stated police spokeswoman Constandia Dimoglidou.
Dimoglidou stated the method normally takes a number of days however authorities are making an effort to complete by Friday. She stated 24 our bodies have been recognized by way of DNA thus far. The testing was essential as a result of lots of the our bodies have been burned or mangled past recognition.
Among the handfuls of grieving family who spent a second day on the hospital awaiting outcomes Thursday was Dimitris Bournazis, whose father and 15-year-old brother stay unaccounted for. He stated telephone calls to Italian-owned prepare operator Hellenic Train have been fruitless.
“I’ve been trying since yesterday afternoon to communicate with the company to find out what seat my father was in,” he stated. “Nobody has called me back.”
WORKERS, RELATIVES SAY TRAIN SYSTEM UNSAFE
Railway employees’ associations referred to as strikes, halting nationwide rail providers and the subway in Athens to protest working situations and what they described as a harmful failure to modernize the rail system. A second 24-hour strike was referred to as for Friday.
Two separate protests in central Athens have been held by left-wing teams, with one leading to clashes between stone-throwing youths and riot police. Protests have been additionally held in Thessaloniki and Larissa.
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Critics blame an absence of public funding throughout the deep monetary disaster that spanned a lot of the earlier decade and introduced Greece to the brink of chapter. It was throughout the disaster, in 2017, that the rail operator, then closely dropping cash, was privatized and purchased by Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group.
Greece has a restricted rail community that doesn’t attain a lot of the nation. Despite years of modernization initiatives, a lot of the important thing rail management work continues to be operated by hand.
The head of the engine drivers’ union, Costas Genidounias, stated an up-to-date site visitors management system was speculated to have been prepared three years in the past. He stated that beginning in 2020, union representatives despatched authorized notices to the corporate liable for Greece’s railway infrastructure, OSE, in addition to authorities and regulatory officers, however obtained no reply.
OSE issued an announcement Thursday expressing condolences to the victims’ households but it surely has not publicly commented on the criticism.
Markos Bekris, a union consultant who took half within the peaceable Athens protest Thursday, stated the collision was “a crime waiting to happen.”
He argued that Hellenic Train, OSE and the present and former governments “share responsibility, as they ignored requests from employees who weekly, daily, raised concerns over health and safety issues and the possibility of a serious accident.”
‘A FOREST OF RESPONSIBILITY’
Transportation Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned following the crash and officers launched a judicial inquiry to find out how two trains traveled in reverse instructions on the identical observe for greater than 10 minutes with out anybody elevating the alarm.
The Larissa station supervisor was charged Thursday with a number of counts of manslaughter and inflicting severe bodily hurt by way of negligence. His title was not launched.
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The stationmaster’s lawyer, Stefanos Pandzardzidis, stated his consumer was “devastated” and accepted “his portion of the responsibility.”
“But beyond that … we must not focus on the tree while there’s a whole forest beyond it,” he stated. “There’s a forest of responsibility.”
Bournazis agreed that the duty for the crash ought to go far past the stationmaster.
“We can’t dump all the blame on one person for making one mistake,” he stated.
He stated the crash ought to result in a full security overhaul of the nation’s rail system.
“I’ve lost my brother, my father. That can’t change, I know it,” he stated. “But the point is for us not to mourn victims like that again. They bought 50 tickets to death.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged in a televised assertion Wednesday evening to unravel the catastrophe.
“Responsibility will be assigned. We will work so that the words ‘never again’ … will not remain an empty pledge,” he stated. “That I promise you.”
‘CENTIMETER BY CENTIMETER’
Amid the rising criticism, emergency employees continued their grim restoration effort, continuing “centimeter by centimeter” by way of mounds of twisted metal, shattered glass and scattered baggage, stated Fire Service spokesman Yiannis Artopios.
“We can see that there are more (bodies) of people there. Unfortunately they are in a very bad condition,” he instructed state tv.
Rescuers have been specializing in the restaurant automobile, which was crushed below the primary carriage from the pressure of the collision, stated fireplace official Vassilios Vathrakogiannis.
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“This morning we removed seven burned bodies from that carriage,” he stated.
He added that all the operation was anticipated to be concluded by noon Friday.
CRASH SURVIVOR DESCRIBES FIERY ESCAPE
About 350 individuals have been on the passenger prepare, a lot of them college students coming back from a vacation weekend and annual Carnival celebrations round Greece.
Andreas Alikaniotis, a 20-year-old survivor, described how he and fellow college students escaped from a jackknifed prepare automobile as the fireplace approached, smashing home windows and throwing baggage exterior to make use of as a makeshift touchdown pad.
“It was a steep drop, into a ditch,” Alikaniotis, who suffered a knee damage, instructed reporters from his hospital mattress in Larissa.
“The lights went out. … The smoke was suffocating inside the rail car but also outside,” Alikaniotis stated.
He stated he was “one of the few around who had not been seriously injured.”
“Me and my friends helped people get out.”
Mar 3, 2023