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Burned carriages, mangled steel at site of Greek train crash


TEMPE, Greece (AP) — Sudden braking, sparks, an explosion. Survivors of a deadly train crash in Greece said the impact of the collision sent passengers flying though the windows of train cars.

Hours later, rescuers used cranes and heavy machinery to sift through the horrific scene of mangled carriages, smoking steel and strewn bodies near the Vale of Tempe, a river valley about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens.

A rescuer, Lazaros Sarianidis, told state broadcaster ERT that crews were “very carefully” trying to disentangle steel, sheet metal and other material twisted together in the crash.

Just before midnight Tuesday, a freight train and a passenger train filled with revelers returning from Carnival celebrations crashed into each other, derailing several cars. At least one burst into flames. More than 35 people were killed and dozens hospitalized.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known, although the stationmaster in a nearby town was arrested. Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying he felt it was his “duty” to step down “as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly.”