THESSALONIKI - An express train that slammed into a house after derailing near Greece's second city Thessaloniki killed three people and seriously injured two others, the train's operator said Sunday.

Trainose had initially reported four deaths from the accident which occurred at 1640 GMT on Saturday, with five people suffering serious injuries. It then revised the toll to just two dead, but one of the injured later died.

The company did not identify the victims, but said the train driver was among the injured after all five carriages of the express train travelling from Athens left the track and the engine carriage ploughed into the house.

A 24-year-old man who lived in the house which was hit told reporters that he managed to jump off a balcony to safety just before the crash.

Search and rescue operations ended in the evening.

Most of the 70 passengers were safely evacuated within three hours of the accident which happened near the station at Adendro, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the northern city of Thessaloniki.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known, police said, and Trainose said it had opened an investigation. But a regional official, Voula Patoulidou, said the train might have been travelling too fast as it shuttled between Greece's two biggest cities. Photos showed at least one carriage on its back. A senior national railway official, who arrived at the crash site, said there had been no problems or incidents reported on that stretch of the railway line.