Massive accident involving 3 trains in Odisha; Modi expresses grief
While initial reports said 30 people were reportedly killed and 400 got injured, the numbers are expected to go up.
One of the mangled coaches of Coromandel Express, a passenger train that hit a good train in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on Friday, June 2, 2023. (ANI Photo)
Several people were reportedly killed while 400 got injured when a passenger train rammed into the derailed coaches of another in Bahanaga Bazar area in Balasore district of the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
A goods train was also involved in the accident, Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena told India’s NDTV.
Limbs were scattered all over, says survivor of deadly Odisha train crash
Coromandel Express, which was going from Shalimar in Odisha’s neighbouring state of West Bengal to Chennai in the Tamil Nadu in the south, hit the derailed coaches of the other train which was going from Yashwantpur in Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka to Kolkata in Bengal, Amitabh Sharma, spokesperson of the railway ministry told the news channel.
While initial reports said 30 people died in the accident, the toll is likely to go up. Several passengers were feared to be trapped under the mangled coaches.
Visuals from the spot went viral on social media showing people trying to reach victims inside mangled overturned coaches.
A number of emergency control room numbers were opened:
Indian president Droupadi Murmu and vice president Jagdeep Dhankar tweeted over the tragedy saying they were “deeply anguised”.
Prime minister Narendra Modi expressed grief in a tweet, saying: “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.”
Home minister Amit Shah also tweeted, saying, “The train accident at Balasore in Odisha is deeply agonizing. The NDRF team has already reached the accident site, and other teams are also rushing to join the rescue operation. My condolences to the bereaved families and praying for the speedy recovery of those injured.”
Railway minister rushes to spot, announces compensation
Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who is a parliamentarian from Odisha, was rushing to the site. In a tweet, he said, “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 also announced ex-gratia compensation to the victims of the train accident — Rs 10 lakh (£9,746) in case of death and Rs 2 lakh (£1,949) for serious and Rs 50,000 (£487) for minor injuries.
Odisha’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik called it a truly tragic railway accident and said he would visit the spot on Saturday (3) morning.
Rescue operation was underway, Asian News International reported quoting an official.
“Collector, Balasore has also been directed to reach the spot to make all necessary arrangements and intimate the SRC if any additional help is required from the state level,” said the special relief commissioner office. The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority said five ambulances were sent to help the rescue operation, India Today reported initially.
Several more ambulances and teams of doctors from Odisha and Bengal were sent to the spot along with hundreds of rescue personnel. Many trains were cancelled on that route (South Eastern Railways) following the accident.
The flagging-off ceremony of Mumbai-Goa Vande Bharat Express on Saturday was also cancelled because of the accident.
It may be mentioned here that 16 passengers were killed and 161 injured when 13 coaches of the Coromandel Express from Howrah got derailed while changing tracks in Orissa’s Jajpur district in February 2009.