A large crowd gathered at the church in Avgorou, Famagusta on Monday morning as the funeral was held for one of the Cypriot victims of the fatal train crash in Greece last week.
The church was packed and crowds gathered outside at the service for Kyprianos Papaioannou, aged 23. Much of the congregation wore white as had been requested by the family.
Young people were also wearing T-shirts with his image. Some wore white T-shirts which read:’ The sky has become richer and the earth has become poorer. Rest in peace’
The Law School of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, where Papaioannou was enrolled, announced a scholarship will be established in his memory.
The second victim, Anastasia Adamidou, aged 24, was buried in Paphos at 2pm. Her body was flown from Thessaloniki to Larnaca’s old airport on Sunday along with Papaioannou’s.
Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos and Deputy Welfare Minister Marilena Evangelou were also at the old airport.
Adamidou’s service took place at the Ayioi Anargyros church in Paphos. At the family’s request, instead of wreaths, contributions were made to support the family of a relative with a serious health problem.
The expenses of both funerals will be met by the state. President Nikos Christodoulides attended both funerals.
Both Papaioannou’s and Adamidou’s families requested no media presence at the service and burial so pictures were restricted to the outside of the church.
Papaioannou’s father, a priest of Avgorou community, held an overnight liturgy on Sunday, ahead of the funeral service.
Another woman who died in the crash, 24-year-old Demetra Kapetaniou, is also of Cypriot origin it was announced on Sunday.
Kapetaniou’s father is from Paphos but has been living in Thessaloniki for the past 30 years.
Cyprus’ foreign ministry permanent secretary said the 24-year-old was not a Cypriot national. As such, Kapetaniou’s family had turned to Greek authorities for help and Cyprus had not been made aware until now.
Kapetaniou was an only child and had been in the first wagon on the train. She graduated from the Democritus University of Thrace over the summer as a kindergarten teacher.
Her remains were identified through DNA.
Sir Stelios Hadjioannou, the man behind the ‘easy’ brands and founder of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, announced on Monday that he will donate €10,000 to each of the train accident closest victims’ next of kin.
Donations will be offered to closest living relatives of all victims, including the two Cypriots, up to the second degree.
“I would like to give my condolences to the families of the deceased and a speedy recovery to the injured,” Hadjioannou said in a statement.
“I am well aware that there is no substitute for the loss of human life. However, I want to stand by the families of the deceased by offering a direct financial assistance to their relatives in order to support them at this difficult time.”
The application process will run from March 7 to 23. People wishing to apply can do so at https://steliosfoundation.gr/ or by calling +30 210 721 6060 from Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.
Supporting documents providing proof of relationship will have to submitted as well.
Successful applicants will receive the financial aid by May 15, the statement said.
Meanwhile, an investigation is underway to determine the extent of the Larissa stationmaster’s culpability in the crash that killed at least 57 people.
The 59-year-old, who cannot be named due to Greek investigation protocol, faces charges of manslaughter and negligence, as well as a felony charge of disrupting transport safety, which carry penalties of ten years up to lifetime imprisonment.
The accused is being held in custody and has so far undergone an initial seven-hour long interrogation ending shortly after 9:30pm on Sunday.
His defending lawyer, Stephanos Panzartsidis, is quoted as saying the stationmaster was devastated by the event.
Former Larissa stationmaster, Yiannis Kollatos, told Greek broadcaster Mega TV that accumulated mistakes led to the tragedy in Tembi on the evening of Tuesday, February 28.
“There were many mistakes…The final mistake was that the stationmaster did not turn the key and signalled for the train driver to cross the red light without specifying on which track the train should run,” Kollatos said.
He explained that operators both at Larissa and Thessaloniki stations, had visibility of the situation.