A passenger train carrying hundreds of people collided at high speed with an oncoming freight train in a fiery wreck in northern Greece, killing 32 and injuring at least 85, officials said Wednesday.
Multiple cars derailed and at least three burst into flames after the collision near the town of Tempe on Tuesday just before midnight. Rescue crews illuminated the scene with floodlights before dawn on Wednesday as they searched frantically through the twisted, smoking wreckage for survivors.
Survivors said several passengers were thrown through the windows of the train cars due to the impact. They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train buckled, slamming into a field next to the tracks near a gorge about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens where major highway and rail tunnels are located.
“There were many big pieces of steel,” said Vassilis Polyzos, a local resident who was one of the first people on the scene. “The trains were completely destroyed, both passenger and freight trains.”
He said dazed and disoriented people were escaping out of the train’s rear cars as he arrived.
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“People, naturally, were scared — very scared,” he said. “They were looking around, searching; they didn’t know where they were.”