At least 233 people were killed and about 900 injured in the horrific train crash in Odisha, involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train, officials said on Saturday.
Citing the latest report from Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner, Chief Secretary PK Jena said the death toll now stands at 207.
“Death toll in the train accident increasing. Latest report from @SRC_Odisha from the accident site puts the figure at 207. No of Injured has been about 900,” Jena tweeted.
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.
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.
“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 tweeted.
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”.
“The local people really went out on a limb to help us… They not only helped in pulling out people but retrieved our luggage and got us water,” Rupam Banerjee, one of the passengers, told reporters.