India’s Worst Train Crash Claims 280 Lives and Leaves 900 Injured


BARASOL, India (AP) Passengers overturn and fall 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 the two trains, officials said.

After the derailment on Friday night, about 220 kilometres southwest of Kolkata, chaos erupted as rescue workers boarded a wrecked train and used torches to crack open doors and windows.

The death toll rose steadily throughout the night. Dozens of bodies covered in white sheeting lay on the ground near the railroad tracks as locals and rescue workers ran to rescue hundreds of people trapped under the bent metal and broken glass of railcars. . Army soldiers and Luftwaffe helicopters participated in the operation. At least 280 bodies were recovered overnight through Saturday morning, he said. About 900 people were injured and the cause is under investigation.

The accident comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is focused on modernizing the British colonial rail network in India, which has become the world’s most populous country with 1.42 billion people. Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, India’s rail network, the world’s largest single-track rail network, still experiences hundreds of accidents each year.

Modi flew to the crash site and spent 30 minutes assessing the status of the rescue operation and talking to rescue workers. He was seen giving instructions over the phone to police officers in New Delhi.

He then visited hospitals and walked around asking doctors about the treatment of the wounded. As he moved from bed to bed in the ward, he talked to several people.

Modi told reporters it was a sad moment and felt the pain of those who suffered in the accident. He said the government would do everything in its power to help them and punish those responsible.

Railway ministry spokesman Amitabh Sharma said the rescue operation was nearing completion. He said railway authorities will begin clearing debris to repair the tracks and resume train operations.

About 200 of the seriously injured were taken to specialized hospitals in other cities in Orissa, PK. Jena is the country’s top executive. Another 200 people were treated and discharged, while the rest are being treated in local hospitals. Many people came to donate blood.

“The challenge now is to identify the body. If relatives can provide evidence, the body will be handed over after autopsy. If we are not identified, DNA testing and other protocols may need to be carried out. I can’t,” he said. Sharma said between 10 and 12 carriages of the train derailed and debris from some of the damaged carriages fell onto nearby tracks. Debris struck another passenger train coming from the opposite direction, derailing up to three cars of the second train, he added.

The Indian Press Trust reported that a third freight train was also involved, but there was no immediate confirmation from railway officials. Some of the derailed carriages collided with carriages of the freight train, PTI said.

Jena said the force of the accident pushed the two wagons together, delaying the rescue effort.

Villagers said they rushed to the scene to evacuate people after hearing a loud noise from the wagon that had strayed from the tracks.

“The locals really helped us out. They not only helped people escape, they carried our luggage and gave us water,” said survivor Rupam Banerjee.

Passenger Vandana Khaleda said people fell over each other when the bus shook violently and veered off the tracks.

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 facial injuries.

Officials said the clash involved the Coromandel Express, which operated from Howrah, West Bengal, to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and the Howrah Superfast Express, which operated from Bangalore, Karnataka to Howrah. Two trains were involved. It was not immediately clear who 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.

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

In 2016, 146 people were killed when a passenger train slid off the tracks between the cities of Indore and Patna. Most railway accidents are caused by human error or outdated signaling equipment.

Every day across India, more than 12 million people board his 14,000 trains, covering 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) of track.