HomeTop StoriesCrash victims returned to families in closed coffins

Crash victims returned to families in closed coffins

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

The bodies of victims of Tuesday’s head-on train collision were returned to families in locked coffins after DNA matches were confirmed.

Salvage teams spent a third day searching the wreckage at Tempe, 380 kilometers (235 mi) north of Athens, where a passenger train collided with a freighter, causing the deadliest rail accident in Greece’s history.

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

“My son is not on any official list as of yet and I have no information. I beg anyone who has seen him, in train car 5, seat 22, to contact me if they may have seen him,” Ruci, who struggled to keep her voice from cracking, told reporters.

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Health Ministry officials said all victim identifications would be conducted by comparing DNA samples from relatives, choosing not to use visual identification because so many victims were burned and dismembered.

Police searched a rail coordination office in the central Greek city of Larissa early Friday and removed 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 homicide, will testify before a prosecutor on Saturday.

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

Rail unions say the network has been poorly maintained despite upgrades to train services to provide faster trains in recent years.

Greece’s centre-right government was expected to call national elections on Friday for early April, but the announcement and likely date of the poll has now been postponed.

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

___ Gatopoulos reported from Athens. Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece contributed to this report.

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