Friday, March 3, 2023 – The death toll from Tuesday’s train crash in Greece has increased to 57, according to a coroner working on the investigation that has led to protests in Greece.
Eleni Zaggelidou, one of ten coroners working on the investigation, said DNA had been taken from 57 intact bodies as at Thursday, March 2.
A passenger train carrying 350 people collided with a freight train after both ended up on the same track causing the front carriages to burst into flames.
The incident happened just before midnight on Tuesday.
Rescue workers are still going through burned and buckled carriages, searching for victims.
This was the “most difficult moment”, rescuer Konstantinos Imanimidis told Reuters, because “instead of saving lives, we have to recover bodies”.
Many in Greece see the crash as an accident waiting to happen, and the union blamed successive governments’ “disrespect” towards Greek railways for leading to this “tragic result”.
A 59-year-old station master in Larissa has been charged with manslaughter by negligence and appeared in court on Thursday. He has admitted to having a share of responsibility in the accident, his lawyer Stefanos Pantzartzidis said outside the courthouse.
“He is literally devastated. Since the first moment, he has assumed responsibility proportionate to him,” Mr Pantzartzidis said, hinting that the station master, who has not been publicly named, was not the only one to blame.
The country’s transport minister has resigned over the incident, saying he would take responsibility for the authorities’ “long-standing failures” to fix a railway system that was not fit for the 21st Century.
Meanwhile, the government has promised an independent investigation into the incident that it promises will deliver justice.
On Wednesday, rioters clashed with police outside the headquarters of Hellenic Train in Athens – the headquarters of the company responsible for maintaining Greece’s railways.