PATNA: Six passengers travelling in the Delhi-bound Seemanchal Express died and 29 others were injured when the train derailed in Bihar’s Vaishali district early on Sunday allegedly due to a fracture in the tracks.
Eleven coaches of the train, which originated from Jogbani in Bihar’s Kishanganj district and was headed for Anand Vihar terminus in Delhi, jumped the tracks at Sahadai Buzurg near Mahanar Road in Sonpur division. The derailment took place at about 4 AM when the train was running at top speed, said officials.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Bihar’s State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) rushed to the spot and began rescue and relief operations. They cut open the windows rails of the derailed coaches and brought out passengers trapped inside. Three of the 11 coaches had fully overturned.
Smita Vats Sharma, Additional Director General PR (Rail) on #SeemanchalExpress: We are focusing on rescue and relief operations right now. Railway Accident Medical Van along with team of doctors are at site. Two teams of NDRF have also reached the spot. pic.twitter.com/iiYzaXCt2Z— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
“All the injured passengers have been taken to hospitals. The critically injured passengers have been rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital. The rescue teams are looking through all coaches to see if anyone is still lying trapped,” said Pratyaya Amrit, principal secretary of Bihar’s disaster management department, who visited the spot.
Most passengers were still asleep when a loud noise jerked them awake. Hundreds of local residents rushed to the site and tried to help the passengers before the rescue teams reached. An AC coach (B3), a general coach, three sleeper coaches – S8, S9 and S10 – and six other coaches had derailed, said East Central Railway (ECR) chief public relations officer Rajesh Kumar.
While the death toll was initially put at seven, ECR officials later confirmed that six passengers lost their lives. The dead passengers were identified as Shayada Khatoon, 40, Indira Devi, 60, Ilcha Devi, 66, Shamsuddin Alam, 26, Ansar Alam, 19, and Sudarshan Das, 60, said officials.
Three of the 29 injured passengers had received serious injuries, said officials. At PMCH, Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi personally supervised the treatment facilities.
Piyush Goyal Office: Rescue and relief operations are on for derailment of 9 coaches of Jogbani-Anand Vihar Terminal Seemanchal express at Sahadai Buzurg, Bihar. (File pic: Piyush Goyal) pic.twitter.com/zXYsWGLhit— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
The Railways announced ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next kin of each deceased passenger, Rs 1 lakh for each grievously injured passenger and Rs 50,000 for each passenger who received simple injuries. The Bihar government also announced ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh for each dead passenger’s dependents and Rs 50,000 for each injured passenger.
A probe headed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (Eastern Zone), Latif Khan, was launched to ascertain the causes of the derailment, including possibilities of sabotage. Several trains scheduled on the route were diverted via Muzaffarpur and Chapra.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, railway minister Piyush Goyal, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi were among those who expressed grief over the loss of lives and the injuries sustained by the ill-fated train’s passengers.