• Tuesday, November 28, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

At least 13 killed as two passenger trains collide in India’s Andhra Pradesh

One of the trains had overshot the signal, resulting in the accident.

Rescue and restoration work underway after multiple coaches of two passenger trains derailed following a collision on Sunday, in Vizianagaram district of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Monday, October 30, 2023. (PTI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

At least 13 people were killed and 50 were injured after two trains collided on the Howrah-Chennai line in Vizianagaram district of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday (29) evening, police said.

The incident happened just months after a horrific train accident that took place in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, killing nearly 300 people.

A senior official of the East Coast Railway (ECR) said around 7 pm local time, the Palasa passenger train hit the Rayagada passenger train from behind at Kankatapalli, causing three coaches to derail.

A senior railway official said the injured were being shifted to hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram.

In a post on X, Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the government has announced ex-gratia payments for the victims.

“All injured shifted to hospitals. Ex-gratia compensation disbursement started — Rs 10 lakh (£9,910) in case of death, Rs 2 lakh (£1,982) towards grievous and Rs 50,000 (£495) for minor injuries,” he said on the microblogging website.

Expressing shock over the incident, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy also instructed officials to pay an ex-gratia amount of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured from the state.

He also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for the injured from other states, according to an official release.

Divisional railway manager Saurabh Prasad went to the site of the accident.

“We are in the process of checking all the coaches. Once that is done, we will be able to ascertain the exact number of the deceased. We have sent 13 injured people to the government primary healthcare centre. There may be some people with simple injuries,” Prasad told PTI.

He further said they are in the process of separating the entangled coaches and would get a clearer picture once that is done.
“We have received 32 injured passengers from the accident site and some of them are in a serious condition. Besides, some injured passengers have been admitted to other hospitals also,” Dr Anila Sunandini, superintendent of the Government General Hospital, Vizianagaram, told PTI.

Biswajit Sahu, chief public relations Officer of the ECR, said the accident took place between Alamanda and Kantakapalli in the Vizianagaram-Kottavalasa railway section of the Waltair division of the East Coast Railway zone.

He said train number 08532 (Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger) and 08504 (Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger special) were involved in the accident, adding that the Rayagada passenger had overshot the signal.

Two coaches of the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train from the rear and the locomotive of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train got derailed, the official added.

Rescue operations are underway with the DRM, Waltair and his team on the spot. Accident relief trains and other rescue equipment have been engaged, the official said.

The prime minister’s office said on X that prime minister Narendra Modi is in touch with the railway minister and all assistance is being provided to those affected.

“@narendramodi spoke to Railway Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation in the wake of the unfortunate train derailment between Alamanda and Kantakapalle section. Authorities are providing all possible assistance to those affected. The Prime Minister extends condolences to the bereaved families and prays that the injured recover soon,” it said.

Vaishnaw said all passengers have been shifted from the accident spot.

“Rescue operations are underway. All passengers shifted. @narendramodi Ji reviewed the situation. Spoke to the CM of Andhra Pradesh. State govt and railway teams are working in close coordination,” he said on X.

Reddy instructed officials to undertake rescue operations. He asked them to arrange a sufficient number of ambulances to ferry the injured.

Andhra Pradesh minister Botcha Satyanarayana also reached the spot and is overseeing the rescue operations.
Senior officials of Vizianagaram district are also at the site.

The rescue efforts are being hampered by the darkness. Meanwhile, the ECR has set up helplines.

Local administration and the National Disaster Response Force were informed, seeking assistance and ambulances, and accident relief trains have reached the site, the officials said.

(With PTI inputs)

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