Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Deaths feared, at least 200 hurt in India rail crash

NEW DELHI, June 2: Dozens are feared dead and at least 200 people have been injured in a multiple train collision in eastern India's Odisha state, local media and officials said Friday.

Witnesses and officials told local media that the Coromandel Express passenger train and a goods train collided near Balasore, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

A second passenger train was also involved in the incident, according to Odisha's chief secretary Pradeep Jena, but the order of events was still unclear.

The Press Trust of India reported that around 50 people were "feared dead," citing unnamed officials. Many passengers were believed to be trapped under rail cars at the scene.

The office of the deputy inspector general of Balasore police meanwhile told AFP that at least 200 people were reportedly injured, many of them serious.

"The details are not too clear yet as teams are on the ground and everyone is busy in the rescue work," the police official said, on condition of anonymity.

Jena said that about 60 ambulances and emergency teams had been dispatched to the site to help transport the injured to medical facilities across the region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "distressed by the train accident".

"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," Modi said on Twitter.

Local media reports showed images of a train car toppled to one side of the track with what appeared to be survivors on top of it, and local residents trying to pull out other victims to safety.

India is no stranger to railway accidents and has seen several such incidents in the past, but railway safety -- thanks to massive new investments and upgrades in technology -- has improved significantly in recent years.