BHUBANESWAR, India, June 3 (Reuters) – The death toll from a collision between two Indian passenger trains in Odisha state has risen to 288 and more than 850 injured, a state government official told AFP on Saturday. caused a railway accident in the country. deadliest in more than two decades.
Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, also said that “rescue work is still ongoing” and there were “many serious injuries”, according to AFP.
Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said on Twitter that more than 200 ambulances were called to the scene of Friday’s accident in Odisha’s Balasore district and 100 additional doctors, in addition to the 80 already there, were mobilized.
Early on Saturday morning, Reuters video footage showed police officers moving bodies covered in white cloth from the train tracks.
“I was asleep,” the unidentified male survivor told NDTV news. “I woke up to the sound of the train derailing. Suddenly I saw 10-15 dead. I got out of the coach, then I saw many dismembered bodies.”
Video footage from Friday showed rescuers climbing one of the wrecked trains to search for survivors, while passengers cried for help and sobbed next to the wreckage.
The collision occurred around 19:00 local time (1330 GMT) on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express, running from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, running from Kolkata to Chennai.
Authorities gave conflicting accounts of where the train first derailed to become involved with another. The Ministry of Railways said it has started an investigation into the incident.
Although Jena and some media reports have suggested a freight train was also involved in the crash, railway authorities have not yet commented on that possibility.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation was launched, involving hundreds of fire department personnel and police officers as well as sniffer dogs. National Disaster Response Force teams are also in the area.
On Friday, hundreds of youth lined up outside a government hospital in Odisha’s Soro to donate blood.
According to Indian Railways, its network facilitates the transportation of more than 13 million people every day. But the state-run monopoly has a patchy safety record due to aging infrastructure.
The state declared Saturday a day of state mourning as a mark of respect for the victims.
India’s deadliest rail accident occurred in 1981 when a train plunged over a bridge and into a river in the state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.
Reporting by Jatindra Dash in Bhubaneswar and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Akriti Sharma, Subrata Nag Choudhury and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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