Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed his grief at the accident and his solidarity for the families of the victims. Simitis had been watching developments closely from the moment the first reports of the crash came in. «It is a tragedy,» he said in a statement. «Whatever its causes – which will be investigated – the tragedy remains. I express my grief and my pity – as do all Greeks – at the unjust loss of so many young children, and my boundless solidarity with the families of all the victims.» Costas Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, said, «I express my grief at this unspeakable tragedy and my condolences to the families of the victims. At this time of pain, the priority is to provide aid to the injured and give our support to the families which are mourning loved ones or are unaware of their fate.» Education Minister Petros Efthymiou and his deputy Nikos Gesoulis sped to the scene.