Balasore/Howrah, June 2
At least 70 people were killed and more than 350 injured in a horrific train crash on Friday in Odisha involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train, officials and hospital doctors said.
Though local villagers claimed that the number of dead could be nearer 100.
Officials said several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah train travelling to Howrah derailed at Bahanaga Baazar, near Balasore and fell on adjacent tracks.
Visuals from the site near Bahanaga Railway Station in Balasore, where the train accident happened earlier today. pic.twitter.com/9kjBZDwJzO— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 2, 2023
"These derailed coaches collided with 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too," a senior official said.
A goods train was also involved in the accident as the coaches of the Coromandel Express hit its wagons after getting derailed, the official said.
The accident happened around 7 pm, he said.
Over 350 people have been admitted to different hospitals across the district, officials said, adding that all private and government hospitals have been put on alert in the nearby districts, including state capital Bhubaneswar.
So far, 50 bodies could be brought out from under the overturned coaches, they said.
A PTI reporter at the spot said several people were trapped under the derailed coaches, and locals were assisting emergency services personnel to rescue them, but darkness was hindering the operation.
The local villagers were the first to reach the site and try and help the passengers, pulling out the wounded and the dead from bogies, some of which were nothing but a “mangled heap of steel”, according to eye-witnesses.
A passenger Rupam Banerjee told newspersons, “the local people really went out on a limb to help us … not only helping pull out people but retrieve our luggage and get us water.” Gas cutters are being used to open bogies and bathrooms to rescue people. Some of the scenes at the site “were too gory to describe,” said another passenger, who added that most people who were trapped by the accident have been rescued.
Fifty doctors from different hospitals in neighbouring districts have been rushed to the spot to treat the injured at the accident site an soe 115 ambulances have been brought in to remove the wounded.
All government and private hospitals in Balasore,Bhadrak, Mayurhbanj, Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar have been put on alert to receieve the injured.
Deeply anguished to know about the loss of lives in an unfortunate rail accident in Balasore, Odisha. My heart goes out to the bereaved families. I pray for the success of rescue operations and quick recovery of the injured.— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) June 2, 2023
Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all…— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 2, 2023
Rushing to the site in Odisha. My prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured and condolences to the bereaved families.— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) June 2, 2023
Rescue teams mobilised from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. NDRF, State govt. teams and Airforce also mobilised.
Will take all hands required for the rescue ops.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said he was rushing to the accident site, while Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is expected to be also at the site by tomorrow morning.
"Rushing to the site in Odisha. My prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured and condolences to the bereaved families.
Rescue teams mobilised from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. NDRF, State govt. teams and Airforce also mobilised. Will take all hands required for the rescue ops," he tweeted.
He also announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who got minor injuries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too expressed his distressed.
"Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," he tweeted.
Four units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), three units of NDRF and 60 ambulances were working to rescue the injured, officials said.
The Odisha government has issued helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
Expressing concern over the accident, in which a large number of people from West Bengal were involved, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was monitoring the situation along with the chief secretary and other officials.
West Bengal Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi added that the state was sending a team led by minister Manas Bhunia and MP Dola Sen to the spot.
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