More than 280 killed, 900 injured, no survivors found after train crash in India Prime Minister Modi heads to the scene | Wagon Radio 720

BARASOL, India (AP) – Passengers overturned and ripped apart in a derailment in eastern India that killed more than 280 and injured hundreds in one of the country’s worst rail accidents in decades. Rescuers found no more survivors in the wreckage of two trains, officials said Saturday. .

About 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata on Friday night, a derailment occurred, causing chaos as rescuers climbed onto the wrecked train and used cutting torches to pry open doors and windows.

The death toll rose steadily throughout the night. Dozens of bodies covered in white sheets lay on the ground near the tracks as locals and rescuers rushed to help survivors. Army soldiers and Air Force helicopters also participated in the effort.

“By 10 p.m. (Friday) we were able to rescue the survivors, after which we had to pick up the bodies,” Odisha Fire and Emergency Director Sudanshu Sarangi told The Associated Press. “This is very, very tragic. I have never seen anything like it in my career.”

At least 280 bodies were recovered overnight through Saturday morning, he said. About 900 people were injured and the cause is under investigation.

After meeting with officials in New Delhi and reflecting on the tragedy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to Orissa to visit the crash site in person and visit people being treated in hospitals.

Railways ministry spokesman Amitabh Sharma said the rescue operation was nearly complete. He said railway authorities will begin removing debris to repair the tracks and resume train operations.

About 200 of the seriously injured have been transferred to specialized hospitals in other cities in Orissa, said Odisha’s chief administrative officer, PK Jena. Another 200 people were treated and discharged, while the rest are being treated in local hospitals. Many people also came to donate blood.

“The challenge now is to identify the bodies. If the relatives can provide evidence, the bodies will be handed over after autopsy. If they are not identified, DNA tests and other protocols will need to be carried out. maybe,” he said.

Sharma said 10 to 12 carriages of one train derailed and debris from some of the wrecked carriages fell onto nearby tracks. Another passenger train coming from the opposite direction hit the rubble, derailing up to three carriages of a second train, he added.

A third train carrying freight was also caught, the Indian Press Trust reported, but there was no immediate confirmation from railway officials. PTI said some of the derailed carriages collided with carriages of a freight train.

Jena said the impact of the accident pushed the two vehicles against each other, delaying the rescue effort.

Officials said 1,200 rescue workers worked overnight in 115 ambulances, 50 buses and 45 mobile medical units. Saturday has been declared a day of mourning in Orissa.

Villagers reportedly rushed to the scene to evacuate people after hearing the loud noise of a train coming off the tracks.

“The locals were really desperate to help us. Not only did they help people escape, they also retrieved our luggage and gave us water,” PTI said of the survivors. Quoted from Rupam Banerjee.

Passenger Vandana Khaleda said the carriage shook violently and veered off the tracks, causing people to fall over each other.

“When I got out of the toilet, the train suddenly tilted. “I didn’t understand why. My brain stopped working,” she said.

Another survivor, who did not give his name, said he was asleep when the shock woke him up. He said he saw other passengers with broken limbs and scars on his face.

Officials said the clash involved two trains, the Coromandel Express from Howrah, West Bengal, to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and the Howrah Super Express, from Bengaluru, Karnataka to Howrah. It was not immediately clear which one had derailed first.

India’s Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnau said a high-level investigation would be carried out. Opposition parties have criticized the government and demanded Mr Vaishnau’s resignation.

Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, India’s rail network, the world’s largest rail network under a single administration, still experiences hundreds of accidents each year.

In August 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi in one of India’s worst train accidents, killing 358 people.

In 2016, a passenger train slid off the tracks between the cities of Indore and Patna, killing 146 people.

Most railway accidents are caused by human error or outdated signaling equipment.

Over 12 million people travel across India every day on 14,000 trains and 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) of track.


New Delhi-based Associated Press reporters Ashok Sharma, Krutika Pati and Chonchui Gashamba contributed to the report. More than 280 killed, 900 injured, no survivors found after train crash in India Prime Minister Modi heads to the scene | Wagon Radio 720

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