- Zaroslav Lukiv, George Wright
- BBC News
At least 288 people have been killed and 900 injured in a multiple train collision in India’s eastern state of Odisha, officials said.
Odisha Governor Pradeep Jena said more than 200 ambulances were dispatched to the scene in Balasour district.
It is believed that a passenger train derailed on the night of the 2nd and collided with another train approaching from an adjacent track.
The accident is the worst train accident in India this century. Officials said the death toll was expected to rise further.
The Indian Railways Authority said the two trains involved in the accident were the ‘Coromandel Express’ and the ‘Howrah Superfast Express’.
Odisha Sudanshu Sarangi, fire chief, said the death toll had risen to 288.
Prior to this, more than 100 doctors were mobilized, said Gov. Jena.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said he was grieved by the incident and joined in the sorrow of the bereaved families.
Prime Minister Modi tweeted that “rescue operations are underway at the scene of the accident and all possible assistance is being provided to those affected.”
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Amit Shah said the incident was “very painful”.
“When the accident happened, 10 to 15 people fell on top of me and everything was messed up,” said one male survivor. “I was at the bottom.”
The survivor also told India’s ANI news agency that he “injured his hands and the back of his neck.” When he got out of the train bogie, he saw someone missing a hand, someone missing a leg, and someone with a distorted face.
The accident appears to have occurred when several carriages of the Coromandel Express train leaving Shalimar for Chennai derailed at 19:00 local time (22:30 Korean time), and some of them ended up on the opposite track.
Another train running from Yesvantpur to Howrah, the Howrah Superfast Express, is believed to have struck the overturned carriage.
Indian officials said a freight train stopped at the scene was also involved in the incident. They did not go into further detail.
Some surviving passengers were also seen rushing to rescue people trapped in the wreckage.
Local bus companies were also helping transport injured passengers.
BBC South Asia regional editor Anbarasan Etirajan says India has one of the world’s largest train networks and despite successive governments investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve infrastructure, accidents are common.
India’s worst train disaster occurred in 1981. At the time, during a cyclone raging in the state of Bihar, an overcrowded passenger train fell off the tracks and into a river, killing at least 800 people.
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