Greece: Crash Victims Returned to Families in Closed Caskets

LARISSA — Authorities in Greece said Friday that all remains recovered so far from scene of this week’s rail disaster have been accounted for, with the death toll from the crash remaining at 57.

The bodies of victims from Tuesday’s head-on train collision were being returned to families in closed caskets after DNA matches were confirmed.

Recovery teams were scouring the wreckage for a third day at Tempe, 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens, where a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier, causing the deadliest rail accident in Greece’s history.

Relatives of passengers still listed as unaccounted-for waited outside a hospital for news, among them Mirella Ruci, whose 22-year-old son Denis remains missing.

“My son is not on any official list so far and I have no information. I am pleading with anyone who may have seen him, in rail car 5, seat 22, to contact me if they may have seen him,” Ruci, who struggled to stop her voice from cracking, told reporters.

Mirela Ruci reacts as she waits to hear news about his 22-year old missing son Denis Ruci, outside a hospital in Larissa city, about 355 kilometres (222 miles) north of Athens, Greece, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Panos Ruci hugs his wife Mirela Ruci as they wait to hear news about their 22-year old missing son Denis Ruci, outside a hospital in Larissa city, about 355 kilometres (222 miles) north of Athens, Greece, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Health Ministry officials said all victim identifications would be carried out by cross-matching DNA samples from relatives, choosing not to use visual identification because so many of the victims were burned and dismembered.

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

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

Flags, meanwhile, at the ancient Acropolis, parliament and other public buildings remained at half staff on the third day of national mourning, while national rail services were halted by a strike for a second day.

The wreckage of the trains lie next to the rail lines, after Tuesday’s rail crash, the country’s deadliest on record, in Tempe, about 376 kilometres (235 miles) north of Athens, near Larissa city, Greece, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

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

Greece’s center-right government had been expected Friday to call national elections for early April, but the announcement and likely date of the poll is now set to be delayed.

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



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