updated 3/8/2008 6:54:37 AM ET 2008-03-08T11:54:37

A passenger train traveling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki derailed in central Greece on Saturday, injuring 23 people, authorities said.

The Greek railway company, OSE, said the InterCity train derailed about 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of the capital for reasons that were unclear.

Twenty adults and three children were taken to a nearby hospital. Most were treated and released, but eight of the injured remained in the hospital by early afternoon for observation, OSE said. Two women had more serious injuries and would be operated on.

The fire department said it had sent 25 firefighters and eight vehicles to the scene, and that its crews had freed six people from the wreckage.

OSE said an investigation had been launched into the incident, which came as tens of thousands of Greeks left the capital and other major cities for the countryside for a three-day weekend. Monday is a religious holiday.

Authorities are looking for the stationmaster of the cargo-only station where the incident occurred who has been missing since the incident occurred, TV station Alpha reported.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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