Some 5,000 motorists spent hours trapped in their cars in freezing temperatures on the Greek capital’s Attiki Odos highway on Monday and dozens were still trapped through Tuesday morning, with the army, fire and ambulance services and the police delivering water, blankets, snacks and other relief, and speeding up efforts to help them get home safely.
Some motorists reported being trapped in their cars for more than 20 hours, while other outraged social media posts showed dozens of people trudging through heavy snow, including parents carrying young children, as they abandoned their cars and trucks on the side of the road and took to walking in search of help and shelter.
Another post showed a few dozen snowbound motorists sleeping on the floor of the lobby of a nearby hotel.
Attiki Odos SA, the company responsible for the privately managed highway, issued an apology on Monday, saying that it will be conducting a thorough investigation into why its emergency response systems broke down despite repeated warnings of adverse conditions in the week leading up to Monday’s snowstorm.
As efforts continued on Tuesday morning to clear the highway of snow and ice, as well as of abandoned vehicles and jack-knifed trucks, the police said that motorists should not venture into the streets of Athens without snow chains, as conditions remain hazardous.