Video shows deadly Greek train crash as station boss admits “error”
Video has emerged of the moment that a passenger train and cargo train collided in Greece late Tuesday night, killing almost 60 people in the country’s deadliest-ever rail disaster. The video from a surveillance camera shows one of the trains approaching before a bright flash of light and a massive explosion.
More than 50 people were still hospitalized Thursday after the fiery crash, which has sparked a fierce debate over the state of the European nation’s public transport network, as the cause of the disaster appeared to have been a case of human error.
The confirmed death toll climbed Thursday to 57 as more badly burned remains were removed from the wreckage, Greece’s fire service said.
Officials still haven’t said exactly how the two trains ended up on a collision course on the same track, but the man in charge of a station in central Greece who was arrested Wednesday in connection with the crash has reportedly accepted “responsibility.”
The station master who was on duty in the city of Larissa, about 15 miles southwest of the crash site, when the crash happened “confessed” responsibility for the accident, a federal government spokesman said Thursday.
“I believe the responsibility, the negligence, the error has been confessed by the station master,” Yiannis Economou told journalists.
But many Greeks, including rail network workers who went on strike Thursday over the disaster, have decried the nation’s poor rail safety record.
The country’s federal Transportation Minister Kostas Karamanlis announced his resignation Wednesday, “as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly.”
He called it “the least he could do to honor the memory of the victims” as he spoke on live television, adding that he was taking responsibility for “long-standing failures” in the country’s transport network.
Karamanlis said he’d made “every effort” to improve the nation’s railway system, but accepted that it was “in a state that doesn’t befit the 21st century.”
Many of those killed and injured on the train were said to be university students returning for classes after a break.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday called the collision “a horrific rail accident without precedent in our country,” and he vowed that a complete and independent investigation would determine the cause. He said the crash appeared to have been “mainly due to a tragic human error.”
Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.
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