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Monday, March 20, 2023

Greek authorities saw cause of train crash in ‘chronic public sector problems’ KXan 36 Daily News

In the first official public acknowledgment of the rail network’s problems, officials also confirmed that the centre-right administration’s efforts to overhaul the system have failed, reports the Guardian.

“We are all devastated by this tragic incident,” government spokesman Yannis Oikonomou told a news conference. However, amid growing anger from people across the country over how a head-on collision between two trains on Tuesday night near Tempe could have happened, the official is our apology, saying Greece is “huge and difficult to manage , especially now.” Authorities are investigating the causes of the accident and delays in rail projects, he said, which he said are “rooted in chronic diseases of the Greek transport system… which the government has not succeeded in eradicating”.

Protesters threw stones at the offices of a train company in Athens before being dispersed by tear gas fired by riot police. Protests also erupted in Thessaloniki. On Thursday, railway workers and metro workers went on strike.

The Hellenic Rail Services Union said in a statement that the 24-hour strike was organized to protest “the lack of respect shown by successive governments towards Greek railways, with a tragic result in Tempe”. Hellenic Train was among many utilities privatized amid Greece’s long debt crisis.

Meanwhile, a Greek judge has called for an urgent investigation into a theory that the long stretch of track leading to Athens International Airport, used by millions of foreign tourists each year, operates with inadequate signage. The allegations were made by employees of the Federation of Railways, who issued a televised call for action.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation was hampered by the fact that workers had to rely on special cutting machines to saw through the many mutilated debris. At the time of the accident, at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, several students were said to have gathered in the dining car, the second car, which felt the brunt of the head-on collision. They took an overnight train to Thessaloniki in the Greek capital after a three-day holiday weekend. “It was a student train full of guys in their twenties,” Kostas Bargiotas, a senior orthopedic doctor at the local hospital, told Skai TV. “It was a real shock, the cars were crumpled up like paper.”

While the search is expected to continue in the coming days, any prospect of finding survivors has all but evaporated, rescuers said, adding that temperatures in the two front cars that exploded could have topped 1,300C. According to local media, the grim process of identifying victims has become more difficult as forensic experts in most cases only had to work with cremated body parts. Relatives desperately searching for their loved ones were forced to provide DNA samples so that the corpses could be identified and released to the families.

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