At least 32 people were killed and 54 injured after Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Andhra Pradesh's Vizianagaram district, officials said today.
The incident took place around 11.30 pm when the train was going from Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) to Odisha capital Bhubaneswar. Rescuers battled to pull survivors from the wreckage of the train crash, an official said.
The government officials as well as emergency workers worked through the night in a bid to locate survivors, a senior railway official said. Thirteen of the train's 22 coaches were unaffected in the incident. Rail traffic on the coast line has been suspended.
- The train was travelling from Jagdalpur city to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state, when it came off the track nearly 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Visakhapatnam, the nearest city to the accident site.
- Services were affected on Rayagada and Vizianagaram route, with at least three trains cancelled and eight others diverted. 13 unaffected coaches left for Rayagada and they will proceed to Bhubaneswar via Sambhalpur-Angul route. If necessary, extra coaches will be added at Rayagada, Chief PRO of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said.
- Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced compensation of Rs. two lakh each for the kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for injured, a railway official said.
- Not ascertaining the cause for the derailment, JP Mishra, a spokesman for East Coast Railways, said the case was under investigation and would not "rule out any angle including sabotage." A senior railway official will conduct a detailed inquiry into the train accident and submit the report at the earliest, Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said.
- "The tragedy is saddening", tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding, "The Railway Ministry is monitoring the situation very closely and is working to ensure quick rescue and relief operations."
- Television footage showed a line of carriages lying on their sides as rescuers in neon orange safety vests and helmets tried to pull out passengers through the windows while locals gathered to help with at the rescue effort. Other images showed injured victims on hospital beds and stretchers, with their limbs swathed in bandages.
- Railways have tied up with local bus service providers to arrange for transport. Five buses have already been arranged to take the passengers towards Palasa and Berhampur areas. Over 10 ambulances have been deployed to take the injured to hospital.
- The latest deadly incident comes two months after 146 people were killed when a passenger train was derailed in Kanpur. Last month, 15 coaches of Sealdah-Ajmer Express had derailed while crossing a bridge over a dry canal near Rura, around 70 km from Kanpur; two of the coaches fell into the canal bed. Two persons were killed and at least 26 injured.
- The central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to invest $137 billion over five years to modernise the crumbling railways, making them safer, faster and more efficient.
- The government has signed numerous deals with private companies to upgrade the ageing network. Japan has agreed to provide $12 billion in soft loans to build India's first bullet train, though plans remain in their infancy.