LAST UPDATE: 13.22
Rescue teams were on Wednesday working feverishly to locate and retrieve victims still trapped in the wreckage of the worst train accident in the history of the Greek railways.
Two huge cranes were at the site, lifting pieces of the carriages that had been crushed into piles of scrap metal by the force of the head-on collision.
As more bodies were found in the ongoing search, the death toll had climbed to 36 by 11:00 in the morning and injured passengers were taken to hospitals in nearby Larissa but also further away, in Volos, Thessaloniki, and Katerini.
Firefighter and ambulance service crews remain at the scene, while special crews were using cutting tools and blow torches to cut and prise apart the remains of the carriages to look for people or bodies possibly trapped inside. A strong smell of burning lingered in the air as the first three carriages of the passenger train caught fire after the collision with the oncoming freight train.
According to the latest update by the fire brigade spokesperson Vasilis Vathrakogiannis, the death toll was 36 so far and 66 people had been taken to hospital, six of which were admitted to ICUs. He stressed that the number of victims was expected to rise as the search continues.
He said that, based on electronic data given by Hellenic Train, there were 342 passengers and 10 employees on board the passenger train and two employees on the freight train.
A spokesperson for the Hellenic Police, Konstantia Dimoglidou, said that in addition to the specialist psychologists providing support for families at the Larissa General Hospital, a team of psychologists has been put together by the psychosocial support line 10306, which is calling the relatives and families of the injured and the victims to provide support and guidance. Hotel beds have also been secured for the family members of the victims and injured at Larissa hotels, she said, for which family members can call the Larissa police at the numbers 2410683175 and 76, where they can also get information on which passengers have been transferred safely to Thessaloniki and which were taken to hospital.
There were 150 firefighters operating at the crash site, including EMAK and forest operations units, with 17 vehicles and four crane trucks, while the ambulance service was continuing to assist with 30 ambulances.
An investigation into the causes of the accident has been launched with officers from the Larisa police headquarters, while forensics teams from Athens and Thessaloniki have been sent to assist local police authorities.
The process of identifying the victims of the crash is underway at the Larisa General Hospital, with the assistance of officers and specialized psychologists of the Hellenic Police.
The accident occurred late on Tuesday when a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train near Tempi.
PM heading to Larisa, orders a three-day period of national mourning
A three-day period of national mourning for the victims of the train collision at Tempi has been announced in Greece on Wednesday, following a decision made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was on his way to Larisa to visit the crash site.
During the three-day period of mourning, from March 1 until March 3, flags will fly at half-mast on all public buildings and all public festivities have been suspended.