After two passenger trains derailed Friday night in India, killing more than 230 people and trapping hundreds of others inside more than a dozen mangled rail cars. It was one of the country’s deadliest train crashes in decades. Rescuers waded through piles of debris and wreckage to pull out bodies and free people. The train crash occurred approximately 220 kilometres (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata in India. This resulted in a chaotic scene as rescuers scaled the derailed trains to break open doors and windows with cutting torches in order to liberate trapped passengers.
The disaster in the Balasore district of the eastern state of Odisha resulted in approximately 900 injuries, according to P.K. Jena, the state’s chief administrative official. The reason was being investigated.
Ten to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto an adjacent track, said Amitabh Sharma, a railway ministry spokesperson.
Sharma stated that the detritus was struck by a second passenger train travelling in the opposite direction. Resulting in the derailment of up to three coaches on the second train.
The number of fatalities is increasing
Press Trust of India reported that a third goods train was also involved. But there was no immediate confirmation from railway authorities. PTI reported that some derailed passenger coaches collided with freight railway cars.
The number of fatalities increased consistently throughout the night. As Saturday dawn approached, Jena reported that at least 233 persons had perished. As locals and rescuers rushed to assist survivors, dozens of dead bodies sprawled on the ground near the train tracks, covered by white sheets.
Officials reported that throughout the night, 1,200 rescuers worked alongside 115 ambulances, 50 buses, and 45 mobile health units at the accident site. The state has designated Saturday a day of mourning.
After hearing a loud noise caused by the train coaches leaving the tracks, villagers reportedly raced to the scene to evacuate people.
“The locals went above and beyond to assist us. A survivor, Rupam Banerjee, was quoted by PTI as saying, “They not only assisted in rescuing people but also retrieved our luggage and provided us with water.”
During the derailment, according to passenger Vandana Kaleda, people were “falling on each other” inside the train. Which was violently shaking and veering off the tracks.
“As I emerged from the lavatory, the train abruptly began to tilt. I lost my equilibrium… Everything turned upside down. People began falling on each other and I was shocked and could not understand what happened. My mind ceased functioning,” she said, adding that she was fortunate to survive.
Another unidentified survivor stated that he was dozing when the impact awoke him. He saw passengers with fractured limbs and disfigured faces, he said.
Several accidents happened before
According to PTI, the derailed Coromandel Express was travelling from Howrah in the state of West Bengal to Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the bereaved families.
Modi tweeted that he had spoken with the railway minister and that “all possible assistance” was being offered to the injured.
However, several hundred accidents occur annually on India’s railways. The largest train network under one administration in the world, despite government efforts to improve safety.
In August 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi. Resulting in the death of 358 individuals in one of the worst train crash in India in decades.
In 2016, 146 persons were killed when a passenger train derailed between the cities of Indore and Patna.
The majority of train accidents are attributable to human error or obsolete signalling equipment.
Every day, more than 12 million passengers ride 14,000 trains across 64,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) of track in India.