Signal given, then recalled: prelim probe
Coromandel express entered wrong lane
2,000 passengers were aboard the trains that crashed
17 coaches derailed, badly damaged
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 3
As the death toll in the rail accident in Odisha’s Balasore continued its frightening upward climb with 288 persons already declared dead and 1,175 injured, 56 of them grievously, admitted to various hospitals, investigators were on Saturday looking into any human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
In minutes, Coaches were mangled steel
- June 2, 6.50 pm: Coromandel express passengers hear a loud bang as it rams into a goods train
- 6.55 pm: The Bengaluru-Howrah superfast express crashes into derailed Coromandel coaches
- 7.10 pm: Locals arrive for rescue
- 7.30 pm: Police and emergency services turn up at the site
- June 3, 12 noon: After 17 hours, rescue operation gets over
Preliminary investigations revealed that a signal was given to the Chennai-bound Coromandel express (coming from Shalimar station on the outskirts of Kolkata) to enter the main line, but it was taken off and the train entered the loop line where it crashed into a stationary goods train.
The Bengaluru-Howrah superfast express, which was coming at a high speed, crashed into the coaches of the Coromandel express that had scattered on the adjacent track. It was the worst rail accident in India in nearly three decades.
None will be spared: PM Modi at mishap site
PM Narendra Modi (left), accompanied by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and HRD Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, visited the accident site to take stock of the situation. The PM later met the injured at a hospital in Cuttack. “No one will be spared and strong action will be taken against those found guilty. Instructions have been given to ensure a proper and speedy probe,” the PM said.
The crash involving the Bengaluru-Howrah superfast express and the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel express, which were carrying around 2,000 passengers, and a goods train occurred at 6.55 pm on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. Seventeen coaches were derailed and severely damaged in the accident, trapping hundreds of passengers. Both passenger trains were at a high speed and it has been cited by experts as one of the main reasons for the high number of casualties.
The crash took place at 6.55 pm on Friday and rescue operations at the site got completed today about 17 hours after the mishap. The impact of the collision was such that 21 coaches of Coromandel express got derailed with three of these getting flung to the adjacent down line.
“The cause of accident is not known. The detailed inquiry will determine the cause. The goods train didn’t derail. It was standing,” said Yogesh Baweja, a government spokesman. The investigation into the accident has been entrusted to Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), South Eastern Railway.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the accident site and was briefed by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw as well as officers of the disaster management teams. He also met some of the injured in the hospital. “Strong action would be taken against those found guilty,” Modi said. Vaishnaw reached the site early this morning and announced a high-level probe into the incident. (With inputs)
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