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India train crash: More than 230 dead after Odisha incident

Published : Saturday, 3 June, 2023 at 7:48 AM  Count : 681

Rescuers work at the site where passenger trains derailed in eastern India on Friday. Photo: AP via Press Trust of India

Rescuers work at the site where passenger trains derailed in eastern India on Friday. Photo: AP via Press Trust of India

At least 233 people are now known to have been killed and 900 injured in a multiple train collision in India's eastern Odisha state, officials say, reports BBC.

More than 200 ambulances were sent to the scene in Balasore district, says Odisha's chief secretary Pradeep Jena.
It is India's worst train crash this century. Officials say the death toll is expected to rise further.

Indian Railways said the two services involved were the Coromandel Express and the Howrah Superfast Express.

A total of 233 bodies had been recovered so far, Mr Jena said.

He said earlier that more than 100 additional doctors had been mobilised.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the incident and his thoughts were with the bereaved families.

A day of mourning has been announced in the state.

It is believed that several carriages from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed at about 19:00 local time (13:30 GMT), with some of them ending up on the opposite track.

Another train - the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah - is then thought to have hit the overturned carriages.

Indian officials said that a goods train - which was stationary at the site - was also involved in the incident. They provided no further details.

Some surviving passengers were seen rushing in to help rescue those trapped in the wreckage.

Al Jazeera reports: The cause of the accident was being investigated, said Amitabh Sharma, a spokesperson for the Indian Railways. The details of the accident were not immediately clear, nor was the sequence of events.

The Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata in the east to Chennai in southern India, derailed at about 7pm (13:30 GMT), with several carriages falling onto the opposite track, local reports said. Another passenger train, the Yashwantpur-Howrah Superfast Express, coming from the opposite direction is believed to have hit the overturned carriages.

The two passenger trains "had an active involvement in the accident" while "the third train, a goods train, which was parked at the site, also got [involved] in the accident", Sharma told the AFP news agency.

There was no official confirmation of the total number of passengers on the trains.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was rushing to the site of the crash, tweeted: "Will take all hands required for the rescue ops."

Vaishnaw also announced compensation of about one million rupees ($12,000) to the families of those killed, $2,400 for those who had suffered  “grievous” injuries, and $600 for people with “minor” injuries.

Several hundred accidents occur every year on India’s railways, with most of them blamed on human error or outdated signalling equipment.

More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India every day, travelling on 64,000km (40,000 miles) of track.


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