A passenger train and a cargo train collided head-on in Greece on Tuesday night, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens as the country’s deadliest rail crash in living memory threw entire carriages off the tracks.
Many of the victims were thought to be university students on their way back from a long holiday weekend. The death toll was expected to rise further, officials said.
“There was panic … the fire was immediate, as we were turning over we were being burned, fire was right and left,” said Stergios Minenis, a 28-year-old passenger who jumped to safety from the wreckage.
The BBC reports:
Survivors have described the panic and chaos of the crash, with one shaken passenger telling 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.” Some passengers said they were forced to break carriage windows with their bodies or luggage to escape the burning wreckage.
Angelos Tsiamouras told Greek broadcaster ERT the crash had felt like an earthquake, and he smashed the train window using his suitcase. “We broke the windows with our backs,” another unnamed passenger said.