Bodies from Greece train collision that killed 57 returned to families in closed caskets

Streaming HUBMarch 3, 2023

Greek authorities said on Friday that all remains recovered so far from the scene of this week’s train crash have been accounted for, bringing the death toll to 57.

The bodies of the victims of Tuesday’s head-on train collision are being returned to their families in closed coffins after DNA matches have been confirmed.

Recovery crews were combing the wreckage for a third day in Tempe, 235 miles north of Athens, where a passenger train collided with a freight carrier, causing the deadliest rail accident in Greece’s history.

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Relatives of passengers still listed as unaccounted for are waiting outside a hospital for news, among them Mirella Ruchi, whose 22-year-old son Dennis is missing.

Ruchi, who told reporters that he had to struggle to keep his voice from breaking.

Wreckage from trains lie next to rail lines in Tempe, Greece, on March 3, 2023.

Wreckage from trains lie next to rail lines in Tempe, Greece, on March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Health ministry officials said all victims would be identified by cross-matching of relatives’ DNA samples, opting not to use visual identification because so many victims had been burned and dismembered.

Police searched a rail coordination office in the central Greek city of Larissa early Friday, destroying evidence as part of an ongoing investigation.

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The facility’s 59-year-old station manager, who has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide, is scheduled to testify before a public prosecutor on Saturday.

Meanwhile, flags at the ancient Acropolis, parliament and other public buildings flew at half-mast on the third day of national mourning, while national train services were halted for a second day due to the strike.

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Rail unions say the network was poorly maintained, despite rail service upgrades in recent years to provide faster trains.

Greece’s centre-right government was expected on Friday to call national elections in early April, but the announcement and possible date of the polls are now set to be delayed.

The passenger train involved in the accident was traveling from the capital Athens to the country’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, on Greece’s busiest route.

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