Transportation Minister Resigns, Police Reportedly Arrest Station Master After Deadly Train Crash In Greece

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Greek authorities on Wednesday reportedly arrested the station master overseeing the junction of a deadly head-on collision that killed at least 36 people and injured dozens of others.

Just before midnight Feb. 28, a northbound passenger train carrying 350 people from Athens collided headlong into a freight train traveling the opposite direction. Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis also stepped down from his position following the crash, German news outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.

Police arrested the 59-year-old station master overseeing the junction near the Larissa crash site, charging him with “mass deaths through negligence and causing grievous bodily harm through negligence,” DW reported. He has so far denied any wrongdoing in the collision, according to CNN. The incident is described as the “worst” of its kind in the country, DW continued.

Both trains were allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed before the collision, which reportedly occurred after the passenger train emerged from a tunnel. It remains unclear exactly how the locomotives wound up on the same stretch of tracks and collided, but Thessaly regional governor Konstantinos Agorastos said “one (driver) didn’t know the other was coming,” according to DW.

Transport Minister Karamanlis submitted his resignation following the collision, calling his decision to step down a matter of “political responsibility,” the BBC reported.

“When something so tragic happens, it is impossible to continue and pretend like it didn’t happen,” Karamanlis said, according to the outlet. “For that reason, I announce my resignation as Infrastructure and Transport minister.”(RELATED: Buttigieg Visits Site Of Train Derailment, Three Weeks After Toxic Crash)

“It is what I feel as a duty to do, as a mark of respect toward the memory of the people who died so unfairly, and taking the responsibility for the Greek state’s and Greek political system’s mistakes over the course of history,” he continued. “From the deepest of my heart, I express my sorrow and my support to the families of the victims.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already visited the site, telling reporters the country’s thoughts were “first and foremost with the relatives of the victims” and that “our duty is to treat the wounded and from there to identify the bodies,” the BBC reported.

“I can guarantee we will find out the causes of this tragedy and do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again,” the prime minister added.