Families of the two Cypriot youths in the Greek train crash have not received any news on their loved ones; their names are not listed among the dead or injured.
They have been missing since Wednesday following the collision of two trains in Tempi, Thessaloniki, northern Greece, which killed at least 47 people and injured scores more.
The two Cypriots are 23-year-old student Kyprianos Papaioannou from Avgorou, Famagusta, and Anastasia Adamidou, 24, from Paphos.
The family of Papaioannou have flown to Greece and has provided local authorities with DNA samples to be matched with bodies that have been found.
Adamidou’s family were expected to arrive later Thursday to provide DNA samples.
As reported by the Greek authorities, charred remains were found in the carriages.
Adamidou is a graduate of the Dentistry School of the Aristotle University Thessaloniki, while Papaioannou is a Law student there.
The two youths were returning from Athens to Thessaloniki after the Green Monday long holiday weekend.
How many Cypriots were travelling on the train remains to be seen, as the route is popular among young students studying in Thessaloniki and Athens.
Since universities were on a three-day break, more Cypriot students may have opted for a short getaway in the Greek capital.
Another Cypriot student Christos Agathokleous from Peyia, Paphos, is in good health after surviving the crash.
Agathokleous was in the rear carriage and, fortunately, was not injured. He and other passengers managed to break the windows and get out.
Cyprus’ ambassador to Greece, Kyriacos Kenevezos, told state radio CyBC that he is also in Larissa to help the families.
Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said the ministry’s crisis management department has already contacted Greek authorities to mobilise help.
Kombos said he is in constant contact with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias.
President Nikos Christodoulides has instructed all government buildings to fly flags at half-mast as a sign of respect.
Some 354 people were on board the two trains, 342 passengers and 12 staff, two of them in the freight train.
The crash occurred as the passenger train emerged from a tunnel. Derailed carriages, badly damaged with broken windows and thick plumes of smoke, could be seen on the site.
Greece’s Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis has resigned, saying, “it’s impossible to continue after something so tragic.”
Local authorities have also arrested the station master at the Larissa Train station, who has reportedly admitted to committing a fatal error which led to the accident.
Although it has not been made clear what the ‘fatal’ error was, the two trains had found themselves head-to-head on the same track while a warning system failed to alert the drivers to stop.
The Greek Train Regulatory Authority is conducting its own investigation into the incident and has asked Hellenic Railways (OSE) to provide a full report on events that took place on the day of the accident.
The families of the two missing Cypriots have sent an appeal urging anyone who might know anything about their whereabouts to call the following telephone numbers: 99235632, 96615761 and 00306942245592.
Greece sold railway operator TRAINOSE under its international bailout programme in 2017 to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, expecting hundreds of millions of euros to be invested in rail infrastructure in the coming years.
The Italian operation has responsibility for passenger and freight, and the Greek state-controlled OSE for infrastructure.