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Drivers of train that crashed in India’s Andhra last year killing 14 were watching cricket

Both the loco-pilot and co-pilot were distracted by the cricket match, said Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conduct rescue operation at the site of train crash in Vizianagaram district of India’s Andhra Pradesh state on October 30, 2023. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has revealed that the drivers of a train that jumped the signal and rammed into a stationary train, resulting in deaths of 14 people, were busy watching a cricket match on a mobile phone.

The fatal accident took place in Vizianagaram district of the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh last October when India were playing England in the 50-over World Cup in the northern city of Lucknow.

According to news agency Press Trust of India, Vaishnaw said, “The recent case in Andhra Pradesh happened because both the loco-pilot and co-pilot were distracted by the cricket match.”

Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw at the accident site in Odisha
Indian railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

“Now we are installing systems which can detect any such distraction and make sure that the pilots [train drivers] and the assistant pilots are fully focused on running the train.”

Read: Odisha train crash: Here are 10 deadly accidents in Indian Railways history

Millions of cricket fans in India watched the live broadcast of the game that India won by 100 runs, thanks to a breathtaking bowling performance by the home team seamers.

In September last year, an electric multiple unit train derailed and climbed onto the railway platform in Mathura in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and a video later revealed that the operator who was in control of the train got busy with his mobile phone after putting his bad on the throttle carelessly.

Read: Massive accident involving 3 trains in Odisha; Modi expresses grief

Five railway staff members were suspended.

Last month, a station master and three other employees were sacked after a freight train travelled 70 kilometres without a driver, local media reported.

In June last year, nearly 300 people were killed in a three-train collision, which featured two passenger trains, in the eastern state of Odisha caused by faulty signal connections.

The Indian government has been making massive investments for upgrading the infrastructure, network and safety of the railway system the origin of which dates back to the British colonial rule.

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