At least 46 people died in the serious train accident in Greece. This was announced by the fire department on Thursday. However, many people are still missing. For this reason, the emergency services continue to search in the rubble. But you will only find charred body parts, as reported by state television (ERT).
The accident happened on Wednesday night. According to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the cause was a "tragic human error". The station master, who was responsible for the station in the city of Larisa in central Greece on Tuesday evening, is said to have admitted to having set the points wrong. A passenger train with around 350 people on board is said to have ended up on a track on which a freight train was coming. The station master was to be brought before the judiciary on Thursday afternoon.
Trade unionists warned of accidents
Meanwhile, serious allegations are being leveled against the Greek state railway company OSE. According to media reports, railway unionists had long since warned of accidents because the electronic control system on the Athens-Thessaloniki route was barely working. The most recent letter of this kind is only three weeks old, as the business daily "Naftemporiki" writes. According to this, minor and almost accidents should have occurred on the route again and again.
"As long as no protective measures are taken for the jobs and the safe operation and traffic of the trains, the accidents will not end," says the letter of February 7th. The dangerous situation could no longer be endured. "What are you waiting for to intervene? What else needs to happen?"
The deficiencies are listed in another letter that the train drivers' association sent to the Ministry of Transport last November. Accordingly, the light signals on the route have not worked for many years. The ETCS (European Train Control System) - the system that stops the train when danger is imminent and thus also protects against human error - is out of order. In addition, for 15 years now, the safety and lighting systems in the tunnels have not been fully functional.
While train services in Greece are operated by the Italian railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the Greek state OSE is responsible for the infrastructure. Their boss had already resigned on Wednesday after the accident. However, that alone is not enough, according to the Greek media. It is a state failure if the infrastructure of the Greek railways is so negligently neglected.