Train collision in Larissa: PM Mitsotakis declares three days of national mourning

train collision February 28, 2023.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a three-day national mourning for the victims of the train accident in Tempi that left 36 people dead. It comes into effect from today, March 1st to March 3rd, 2023 with flags flying at half-mast in all public buildings and suspension of public celebrations.

What does national mourning signify and when is it declared?

National mourning is a term that describes the mourning that comes from grief and sorrow for some unfortunate event and is officially declared by state governments.

It can come from the death of many people after a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or some other unfortunate event, as well as from the death of a particularly important person for a nation or people.

It is characterised by mourning that also brings about memorial activities that are observed in the majority of the population of a country.

During it, in some cases, it is decided to close public services and schools, to hang the flags at half-mast and other symbolic movements.

A similar manifestation of shorter mourning is the observance of a minute's silence at various gatherings and gatherings.

Acropolis Greek flag half-mast

Meanwhile, Mitsotakis has been in constant communication with the coordination centre and the relevant ministers since the first minutes of the deadly train collision in Tempi.

From the first moment, the prime minister put the entire mechanism in complicity, in order for there to be immediate coordination.

The prime minister was at the Maximos Palace all evening and was informed about the developments regarding the tragic train accident.

According to Proto Thema, Mitsotakis will go to the area of ​​the tragedy shortly . The President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, will also visit the area.

At this time, Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis is visiting the area. The president of PASOK-Movement for Change Nikos Androulakis is also going to Tempi. Earlier the postponement of Mitsotakis' planned visit for today in Thessaloniki was announced the Prime Minister's Press Office.

At least 32 people have died and dozens more were injured in the head-on collision between two trains near the city of Larissa on Tuesday night.

train collision February 28, 2023.

Rescuers have been working through the night to find survivors.

"We heard a big bang," said 28-year-old passenger Stergios Minenis, who jumped to safety from the wreckage.

"We were turning over in the carriage until we fell on our sides and until the commotion stopped. Then there was panic. Cables, fire. The fire was immediate. As we were turning over we were being burned. Fire was right and left," Mr Minenis was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"For 10, 15 seconds it was chaos. Tumbling over, fires, cables hanging, broken windows, people screaming, people trapped."

People have described having to crawl through windows and over broken glass as they tried to escape.

According to one shaken passenger who spoke to Skai television, "the windows suddenly exploded" and "people were screaming and were afraid".

"Fortunately, we were able to open the doors and escape fairly quickly. In other wagons, they did not manage to get out, and one wagon even caught fire."

Fellow passenger Angelos Tsiamouras told local media the crash had felt like an earthquake, while another named Lazos told the newspaper Proto Thema: "I wasn't hurt, but I was stained with blood from other people who were injured near me."

The passenger train had been travelling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki when it crashed head-on with the other freight train, leading to a fire in at least one of the carriages.

train collision February 28, 2023.It is being described as the worst train crash Greece has ever seen, but the cause of the collision is not yet known.

About 150 firefighters and 40 ambulances were at the scene, Greek emergency services said, with cranes also used to remove debris.

"It was a very powerful collision," the regional governor of the Thessaly region, Kostas Agorastos, told state-run television.

"This is a terrible night... It's hard to describe the scene."

He said the first four carriages of the passenger train were derailed, and the first two carriages caught fire and were "almost completely destroyed".

"They were travelling at great speed and one (driver) didn't know the other was coming," the governor said.

Footage of the collision's aftermath showed thick plumes of smoke rising from derailed carriages.

Conditions for rescue workers were "very difficult" because of "the severity of the collision", fire service spokesman Vassilis Varthakoyiannis told reporters.

train collision February 28, 2023.

"I've never seen anything like this in my entire life. It's tragic. Five hours later, we are finding bodies," an exhausted rescuer emerging from the wreckage told AFP news agency.

"We are living through a tragedy. We are pulling out people alive, injured... there are dead. We are going to be here all night, until we finish, until we find the last person," another volunteer rescue worker told ERT state broadcaster in comments cited by Reuters.

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