At least 288 dead and 850 injured in train derailment in India


At least 288 people were killed and more than 850 injured in a horrific three-train collision in India on Saturday. It was the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.

Pictures from the crash site showed shattered, ripped-open train compartments with blood-stained holes near Balasore in eastern Odisha state.

Train cars had completely overturned in the accident late Friday and rescue workers were searching for survivors trapped in the mangled rubble, with dozens of bodies laid out under white sheets beside the tracks.

As dawn broke on Saturday, rescue workers could see the full extent of the carnage.

On June 2, 2023, two passenger trains derailed in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.


Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, said the death toll stood at 288.

“Rescue work is ongoing,” he told AFP from the scene, adding that there were “many serious injuries.”

Rail accidents are no stranger to India and has witnessed several disasters, the worst of which was in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar and crashed into the river below, killing between 800 and 1,000 people.

However, Friday’s crash is believed to be the worst since the 1990s.

Pradeep Jena, the chief secretary of Odisha state, confirmed that about 850 injured people were taken to hospitals after the crash, which happened about 125 miles from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

“Our top priority now is rescuing (the passengers) and medical care for the injured,” he said.

Indian Railways chief executive Amitabh Sharma told AFP that two passenger trains “were actively involved in the accident,” while “the third train, a freight train that was parked at the site, was also involved in the accident.”

One survivor told local TV reporters that he was asleep when the accident happened and when he woke up he was pinned by about a dozen fellow passengers before somehow crawling out of the train car with injuries to his neck and arm.

Because there were so many injured, the injured were taken to every hospital that had space by both ambulances and buses.

SK Panda, a spokesman for the Jena office in the state of Odisha, said “all major state and private hospitals from the scene of the accident to the state capital” are ready to assist the injured.

The spokesman added that authorities “sent 75 ambulances to the scene of the accident and also used many buses” to transport injured passengers.

Ambulances brought in injured people at Bhadrak District Hospital. The bloodied and shocked survivors were treated in overcrowded wards.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “dismayed by the train accident”.

“In this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved. May the injured recover soon,” Modi said on Twitter, adding that he had spoken to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to “take stock of the situation.”

Vaishnaw said he rushed to the scene while rescue teams, including the National Disaster Response Force and Air Force, worked frantically.

“Will mobilize all forces required for rescue operations,” he said on Twitter.

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed his “deep condolences” in “this hour of sadness”.

US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said: “Our thoughts are with the people of India at this time.”

Despite the recent accident, railway safety has improved significantly in recent years thanks to massive new investments and technological improvements.

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