ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about the Tempi fatal train disaster in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening.
The Premier announced that Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis is to immediately become the interim Infrastructure & Transport Minister until the upcoming national elections, following the Wednesday resignation of Infrastructure & Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis.
Karamanlis “assumed the objective political responsibility, and immediately submitted his resignation,” said Mitsotakis, and “so did the heads of the Hellenic Rainways Organization (OSE) and of OSE’s projects branch ErgOSE, he noted; Karamanlis’ stance “honors him,” he added, “as everything shows that the accident is mainly due, unfortunately, to tragic human error.”
Mitsotakis mentioned that he has already requested that Gerapetritis proceed, as soon as possible, with establishing an independent, cross-party committee of experts that will fully investigate the causes of the accident, but which “will also look at the perennial delays in the implementation of railway projects,” he added.
Speaking of his visit to the Tempi crash site earlier in the day, Mitsotakis said it was “a scene of a tragedy that will forever be etched in our collective memory,” and that “dozens of our fellow citizens -most of them young people- lost their lives there, in a horrible train accident unprecedented in our country.”
The prime minister thanked firefighters and rescuers, ambulance paramedics and police officers, local government authorities, as well as “doctors, health workers, and the psychologists in our hospitals, as they did -and are doing- their best under extremely adverse conditions.”
Mitsotakis, who earlier on Wednesday at Larissa General Hospital met with relatives of the victims of the train crash and also of those still missing said that “in their unspeakable pain, with a surplus of dignity, they asked me “why”. And they told me “never again”. We owe them an honest answer.”
The country’s judicial system “will do its own work,” he said, and “responsibilities will be assigned, while the state will stand by the victims’ families.”
“We will mourn our children, our siblings, our friends. We will stay united in this tragedy too. And, then, we will bow our heads and grit our teeth. We will work so that this ‘never again’ that I heard in Larissa will not remain just empty words.”