Heart-wrenching visuals emerged on Saturday morning as NDRF team pulled out dead bodies from the site of Odisha train accident and lined them up on the Balasore railway track. In a video from the mishap site, personnel can be seen carrying dead bodies, covered with white bed sheets, on stretcher.
The train crash took place on Friday around 7 pm near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. The rescue operation is underway since last evening and is likely to continue throughout the day.
Odisha revenue minister Pramila Mallick told News18 Odia that 288 people have been killed so far and more than 1,000 injured. The impact of the collision was such that railway tracks were almost destroyed at the spot as mangled coaches lay strewn all over, with some having mounted on another, while a few coaches turned turtle.
News agency PTI quoted locals as saying that they heard consecutive loud sounds, following which they rushed to the spot and found the derailed coaches, which were nothing but “a mangled heap of steel”.
The report further quoted Pijush Poddar, a resident of Berhampore in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, as saying, “We were jolted and suddenly saw the train bogie turn on one side. Many of us were thrown out of the compartment by the momentum of the derailment. When we managed to crawl out, we found bodies lying all around.” Poddar was travelling to Tamil Nadu in the Coromandel Express to join work there when the accident happened.
Deadliest Accidents in Indian Railways’ History
• June 6, 1981: India recorded its worst train accident that occurred in Bihar. A train fell into the Bagmati river while crossing a bridge, killing more than 750 people.
• August 20, 1995: Purushottam Express collided with the stationary Kalindi Express near Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. The official death toll was around 305.
• August 2, 1999: The Gaisal train disaster occurred when Brahmaputra Mail crashed into the stationary Avadh Assam Express at Gaisal station in North Frontier Railway’s Katihar division, killing more than 285 people and injuring over 300. Many of the victims were Army, BSF or CRPF personnel.
• November 26, 1998: Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with three derailed coaches of Frontier Golden Temple Mail in Punjab’s Khanna, killing 212 people.
• November 20, 2016: The Pukhrayan train derailment occurred when 14 coaches of Indore-Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan, approximately 60 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, killing 152 people and injuring 260.
• May 28, 2010: Jnaneswari Express derailment — the Mumbai-bound train derailed near Jhargram in West Bengal and was then hit by an oncoming goods train, killing 148 passengers.
• September 9, 2002: The Rafiganj train wreck occurred when Howrah Rajdhani Express derailed over a bridge on the Dhave river in Bihar’s Rafiganj, killing more than 140 people. Terrorist sabotage was blamed for the incident. * December 23, 1964: The Pamban-Dhanuskodi passenger train was washed away by the Rameswaram cyclone, killing over 126 passengers on board.