Balasore Triple Train Accident
The horrific train accidents that happened in Odisha on late Friday evening took lives of more than 230 people while over 900 were injured. THe accident involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train. "Death toll rises to 233 in the Balasore Train Accident," Odisha Chief Secretary PK Jena tweeted.
The train crash, one of the deadliest in India in the recent times, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar, around 7 pm on Friday. Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks, an official said. "These derailed coaches collided with the 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too," he said. A goods train was also involved in the accident as some of the coaches of the Coromandel Express, which was heading to Chennai, hit its wagons after getting derailed, he added.
Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma told PTI Video that the Coromandel Express derailed first, and its 10-12 coaches fell on the line on which the Bengaluru-Howrah Express was travelling, forcing it to jump off the tracks. Late in the night, Odisha's Chief Secretary Jena said three trains were involved in the accident.
The differing versions of the accident could not be immediately reconciled. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared one-day state mourning on Saturday in the wake of the deadly triple train crash. "Important Announcement: In view of tragic rail accident at Bahanaga, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Sri Naveen Patnaik has ordered for State Mourning for a day. Hence no State celebration to take place on 3rd June through out the State," the Information & Public Relations Department of the Odisha government tweeted.
State Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahoo said those injured in the accident were undergoing treatment in different hospitals. All government and private hospitals have been put on alert in the nearby districts, including the AIIMS at Bhubaneswar. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who was on the way to the spot, said the Air Force was also called in for assisting the rescue operations.
Officials in Bhubaneswar said 115 ambulances, 50 buses and 45 mobile health units were working at the accident site, besides 1,200 personnel. The bodies were being taken to the hospitals in all kinds of vehicles, including tractors. Locals said they heard consecutive loud sounds, following which they rushed to the spot and found the derailed coaches, which were nothing but "a mangled heap of steel".
More than 2,000 people gathered at the Balasore Medical College and Hospital in the night to help the injured, and many also donated blood. Chief Secretary Jena thanked the volunteers who donated blood to the accident victims in their hour of need. Gas cutters were being used to bring out the bodies from under the derailed coaches. "Some of the scenes at the site were too gory to describe," said another passenger.
Railway tracks were almost destroyed at the spot as mangled coaches lay strewn all over, with some having mounted on another, while a few bogies turned turtle due to the impact. The railways announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who got minor injuries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too expressed his distress over the accident, and announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the PM's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
The Konkan Railway officials informed that the flagging off ceremony of the Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express has been cancelled in view of the tragic accident in Odisha.
The Odisha government issued helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
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