Athens, Greece Rescue workers are in a desperate search for survivors after a head-on collision between two trains in northern Greece killed dozens of people and injured many.
At least 29 people were killed and more than 85 injured when a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train on Tuesday evening, shortly before midnight, in Tempi, central Greece, near the city of Larissa, the Greek fire service said. .
“We just heard a bang … the (train) car started to spin, before it ended up sideways when we managed to get out,” a male passenger told Greek public broadcaster ERT.
“It was 10 nightmarish seconds of fire, you couldn’t see much from the smoke,” said another passenger.
Recovery efforts are underway and the death toll is expected to rise, the Greek fire service said.
The trains had traveled from the capital Athens to Thessaloniki, a Greek city known for its festivals and vibrant cultural life. The collision comes after a nationwide carnival at the weekend which ended with a public holiday on Monday.
Images on Greece’s state-owned public broadcaster ERT showed plumes of thick smoke billowing from overturned wagons and long lines of rescue vehicles alongside them.
Meanwhile, rescue workers with torches in carriages searched for survivors while paramedics led shrapnel-shocked passengers from the scene.
The images also showed some surviving passengers arriving in Thessaloniki.
In a televised briefing, Greek fire service spokesman Vassilis Varthakogiannis said the passenger train had carried 350 people.
At least 150 firefighters with 17 vehicles and 40 ambulances are involved in the rescue operation, Varthakogiannis added.
The Greek railway company, Hellenic Train, said in a press release that there was “a head-on collision between two trains: a freight train and train IC 62 which had been traveling from Athens to Thessaloniki”.
Authorities said it is still not clear what led to the collision.