Odisha train crash death toll nears 300; around 900 injured
People gather at the accident site of a three-train collision near Balasore in Odisha, about 200 km (125 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar, India, on June 3, 2023. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
The death toll in the horrific railway accident in Balasore district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha rose nearly 300 on Saturday (3), hours after one passenger train rammed into the derailed coaches of another, India Today reported. A goods train was also involved in the pile-up, said Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena.
More 900 people were injured.
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The crash, one of the deadliest in India’s railway history, happened at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore, around 250 kilometres of Kolkata, the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal around 7.30 pm local time on Friday (2).
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A massive rescue operation was launched and all nearby hospitals and district authorities were put on alert. Three units of the National Disaster Response Force; four units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force; more than 15 fire rescue teams; 30 doctors; 200 police personnel and 60 ambulances were mobilised to the site of the accident, Jena told NDTV.
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Railwa minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted saying the air force was also called in to aid the rescue operations. He also headed for the site on Friday night.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who was set to visit the site on Saturday, declared a day’s mourning in the state in view of the accident.
Vaishnaw announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh (£9,746) for the kin of those killed and Rs 2 lakh (£1,949) for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 (£487) for those who received minor injuries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his distress over the accident, and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the PM’s National Relief Fund.
Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal to and from which the two ill-fated trains were operating, said she was closely monitoring the situation.