Odisha train tragedy: A major rail accident involving three trains- the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train - happened on Friday night at 7 PM in Balasore, Odisha. At least 50 people were killed and more than 350 injured in a horrific triple train crash and the death toll may rise as rescue operations at unpreceded large scale involving 115 ambulances are underway.
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah train travelling to Howrah derailed at Bahanagabazar and fell on adjacent tracks. "These derailed coaches collided with 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too," a senior official said. A goods train was also involved in the accident as the coaches of the Coromandel Express hit its wagons after getting derailed, the official said.
Hundreds of people injured
Over 350 people have been admitted to different hospitals across the district, officials said, adding that all private and government hospitals have been put on alert in the nearby districts, including state capital Bhubaneswar. So far, 50 bodies could be brought out from under the overturned coaches, they said. A PTI reporter at the spot said several people were trapped under the derailed coaches, and locals were assisting emergency services personnel to rescue them, but darkness was hindering the operation.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's reaction
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said he was rushing to the accident site. "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.
PM Modi, Odisha CM review situation
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said he has reviewed the situation, and will be travelling to the accident site early Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the accident, and spoke with Vaishnaw to take stock of the situation.
"Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation.
Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," he tweeted.
Ex-gratia announcement by Railways Minister, PM
PM Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs. 50,000 for injured. The Railways Minister also declared compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who got minor injuries.
Rescue operations underway
Four units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), three units of NDRF and 115 ambulances were working to rescue the injured, officials said. The estimated strength of these six teams is more than 240 personnel, they said. The teams are equipped with stretchers, gas cutters, lifting pads, first-aid kits and other equipment, and sniffer dogs, NDRF Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Manoj Kumar Yadav told PTI. While one National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team, located at its regional response centre in Balasore, is present at the accident site, five more are being rushed from Mundali in Cuttack district, about 100 km from the crash site, the officials said. At least 50 people were killed and more than 350 injured in a horrific triple train crash on Friday in Odisha involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train.
Bengal CM steps in
Expressing concern over the accident, in which a large number of people from West Bengal were involved, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was monitoring the situation along with the chief secretary and other officials. "We are coordinating with Odisha government and South Eastern Railways for our people's sake. Our emergency control room has been activated at once with numbers 033- 22143526/ 22535185.
All out efforts for rescue, retrieval, aid and assistance initiated," she tweeted. West Bengal Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi said the state was sending a team led by minister Manas Bhunia and MP Dola Sen to the spot.
Here is the list of cancelled trains on the affected route
DRM Kharagpur tweeted helpline numbers:
Train no 12841 UP Coromandal Express and Train no 12864 DN has been derailed near Bahanaga bazaar, said DRM Kharagpur in a tweet.
Helpdesk opened at SHM, HWH, KGP & BLS.
- HWH - 03326382217
- KGP- 8972073925, 9332392339
- BLS - 8249591559, 7978418322
- SHM - 9903370746
Helpline numbers set up by SCR:
- 1. SCR Hqrs, Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad: 040 - 27788516
- 2. Vijayawada Rly Station 0866 - 2576924
- 3. Rajahmundry Rly Stn: 0883 - 2420541
- 4. Renigunta Railway Stn: 9949198414.
- 5. Tirupati Railway Stn: 7815915571
"At around 7pm, 10-12 coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed near Baleswar and fell on the opposite track. After some time, another train from Yeswanthpur to Howrah dashed into those derailed coaches resulting in the derailment of its 3-4 coaches," said Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma.
Other helpline numbers-
- Howrah Helpline Number : 033-26382217
- Kharagpur Helpline Number: 8972073925 & 9332392339
- Balasore Helpline Number: 8249591559 & 7978418322
- Shalimar Helpline Number: 9903370746
Bhadrak helpline number in connection with derailment: 7894099570 and 9337116973
Congress leaders react
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi expressed sadness over the train tragedy in Odisha and urged party workers and leaders to extend all support needed for rescue efforts.
In a tweet, Kharge said, "Deeply saddened by the terrible train tragedy involving Coromandel Express in Odisha. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims." "We urge the authorities to expedite rescue operations and provide relief to the injured. Request Congress workers to provide all possible help," the Congress chief said.
Rahul Gandhi expressed anguish over the tragic news of the accident. "My heart goes out to the bereaved families. Wishing for the speedy recovery of those injured. I urge Congress workers and leaders to extend all support needed for rescue efforts," Gandhi said.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in a tweet in Hindi, said, "Received the sad news of the train accident in Balasore, Odisha. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. I pray to God for the speedy recovery of all injured." Appeal to all Congress workers to provide all help in the relief work, she said.
Tamil Nadu CM Stalin dials Naveen Patnaik
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik following the accident and announced that he was deputing a four-member panel to coordinate the rescue of Tamils on the train Expressing shock over the accident, Stalin tweeted that he spoke to Patnaik and said the details shared by the latter about the accident were "worrying". The chief minister also condoled the lives lost in the incident.
"I have asked Transport Minister S S Sivasankar and 3 IAS officials to rush to Odisha to rescue the Tamils involved in the accident. Have directed setting up a helpline," he added. Later, a state government release said Stalin offered Patnaik, medical assistance to the injured, and deputing medical teams and other aid to Odisha, if required.
The Tamil Nadu government's helpine numbers are: 1070 (toll-free), 94458 69843, 94458 69848 (Whatsapp) and 044-28593990.