At least 50 people died and over 350 injured in a three-way train crash on Friday in Odisha’s Balasore district involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train.
Out of the three trains involved, the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah and 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express were passenger superfast trains, while a goods train was also involved in the accident.
What Happened in Odisha’s Balasore?
According to railway officials, at around 7 pm in the evening near Bahanaga Baazar, Balasore district, 3-4 coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah superfast Express derailed and fell over on adjacent tracks.
The derailed coaches of the train then collided with the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, resulting in the capsising of 10-12 of its coaches.
A goods train also got hit as the derailed coaches of the Coromandel Express struck its wagons.
The incident took place at approximately 7 pm, approximately 255 kilometers away from Howrah. Around 300 injured individuals have been transported to nearby hospitals thus far.
CPRO South Eastern Railway has stated that as a result of the unfortunate accident involving the 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, coaches B2 to B9, A1, and A2 have capsised. Additionally, coach B1 and the engine have derailed, while coach H1 and the GS coach remain on the rail, the official statement read.
In the case of 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah train, one GS coach has sustained damage while on the rail. The rear side GS coach and two bogies have derailed and capsised, while coaches A1 to the engine remain on the rail, it said.
Emergency services personnel were being aided by locals in the rescue operation as several individuals remained trapped under the derailed coaches. However, the operation was being hampered by the darkness of the surroundings, as per reports.
In an interview with CNN-News18, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena expressed his deep regret over the “unfortunate accident.” “We have received reports suggesting that the death toll is approximately 50, while the number of injured individuals exceeds 300,” he said.
Rescue operations are currently in progress and are expected to continue throughout the night. Four units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), three units of NDRF and 60 ambulances were working to rescue the injured, according to official reports.
Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, and Bhubaneswar have been notified to inform all BIju Swatya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) empanelled private hospitals to keep beds ready to receive patients from the accident site.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a tweet said he was rushing to the accident site. “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 said.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep concern over the accident and said that the government’s top priority is to save the lives of injured passengers. The Chief Minister also visited the State Emergency Operation Centre (SRC Office) in the evening to assess the situation.
Patnaik said he has reviewed the situation and will be travelling to the accident site early Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the accident and spoke with Vaishnaw to take stock of the situation. “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.