At least twenty-six people have been killed and 85 injured after two trains collided near the central city of Tempe Greecesaid the fire department.

The two trains – a passenger train traveling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki and a cargo train from Thessaloniki to Larissa – collided head-on outside the central Greek city, Konstantinos Agorastos, the governor of the Thessaly region, told local media.

“The impact was very severe,” he said, adding that the first four carriages had derailed, while the first two were “almost completely destroyed”.

Agorastos said around 250 passengers were safely evacuated to Thessaloniki on buses.

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Several cars derailed and at least three caught fire after the collision about 380 kilometers north of Athens. Hospital officials in the nearby city of Larissa said at least 25 people had serious injuries.

Rail operator Hellenic Train said the northbound passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki had about 350 passengers on board when the collision occurred.

A man walks at the scene of a crash, where two trains collided, near the city of Larissa
A rescue worker at the scene of the crash near the city of Larissa, Greece. Photo: Reuters

TV broadcaster SKAI showed images of derailed carriages, badly damaged with broken windows amid thick plumes of smoke, as well as debris strewn across the road. Rescue workers were seen carrying torches in carriages searching for trapped passengers.

“There was panic in the carriage, people were screaming,” a young man who was evacuated to a nearby bridge told SKAI TV.

“It was like an earthquake,” Angelos Tsiamoura, another passenger, told ERT.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this article