A passenger train and a freight train collided head-on in central Greece on Tuesday night, resulting in the deaths of at least 36 people and injuring many others, according to a report from The Associated Press.
The incident took place near the Vale of Tempe, around 380 kilometers north of Athens, and the cause of the crash is not yet known.
Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned on Wednesday, stating that he felt it was his “duty” to step down “as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly.”
The stationmaster in the nearby city of Larissa was arrested, and two other people were detained for questioning in connection with the incident.
Survivors of the crash reported that the impact threw several passengers through the windows of the train cars, with some victims’ bodies found 30-40 meters from the site of impact.
The collision caused multiple cars to derail and at least three to burst into flames, with one carriage lying atop the crumpled remains of another two.
Temperatures reached 1,300 degrees Celsius, making it difficult to identify those who perished in the incident.
Many of the 350 people on board the passenger train were students returning from Greece’s Carnival celebration.
The three-day festival, which precedes Lent, was celebrated in full this year for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the scene of the accident, promising to help the injured recover and identify the dead.
“I can guarantee one thing: We will find out the causes of this tragedy and we will do all that’s in our power so that something like this never happens again,” Mitsotakis said.