© Reuters. People try to escape from collapsed compartments, after the fatal collision of two trains, in Balasore, India on June 2, 2023, in a screenshot obtained from a video. ANI/Reuters TV via Reuters
Written by Jatindra and Abhinaya V
The death toll in a collision of two Indian passenger trains in Odisha state has risen to 288 and more than 850 injured, making the railway accident the deadliest in the country, an official of the Odisha state government told AFP on Saturday. of two decades.
“Rescue work is still going on” and there are “many serious injuries,” said Sudhanshu Sarangi, general manager of Odisha Fire Services, according to AFP.
Chief Secretary Pradeep Gina said on Twitter that more than 200 ambulances had been called to the scene of Friday’s accident in Balasore district of Odisha and an additional 100 doctors had been mobilized, in addition to the 80 already there.
Reuters video footage early on Saturday showed police officials hauling bodies covered in white clothes off the tracks.
“I was asleep,” an unidentified survivor told NDTV News. “I was woken up by the noise of the train derailing. Suddenly I saw 10-15 dead people. I managed to get out of the bus, and then I saw a lot of dismembered bodies.”
Video footage from Friday showed rescuers climbing one of the collapsed trains to find survivors, while passengers called for help and wept next to the wreckage.
The collision occurred at around 19:00 local time (1330 GMT) on Friday when the Howrah Superfast, which runs from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai.
Authorities gave conflicting accounts about one train derailing first to become entangled with another. The Ministry of Railways said it had opened an investigation into the accident.
Although Jena and some media reports have indicated that a freight train was also involved in the accident, the railway authorities have not yet commented on this possibility.
A massive search and rescue operation was conducted, involving hundreds of fire department personnel and police officers as well as sniffer dogs. The National Disaster Response Force teams were also present at the site.
On Friday, hundreds of young people lined up outside a government hospital in the city of Suru in Odisha to donate blood.
According to Indian Railways, its network facilitates the transportation of more than 13 million people daily. But the state-run monopoly had a patchy safety record due to aging infrastructure.
The state declared Saturday, an official day of mourning, in tribute to the victims.
India’s deadliest railway accident occurred in 1981 when a train plunged off a bridge into a river in Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.