Over 30 dead, hundreds trapped as Coromandel Express rams into derailed coaches of another train in Odisha
The accident took place when the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Superfast Express rammed into two derailed coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express at Bahanaga railway station 180 km from Bhubaneswar.
BHUBANESWAR: Over 30 passengers are believed to have died while hundreds are trapped in one of the most horrific railway accidents in recent years when an express train collided with the derailed coaches of another express train at Bahanaga railway station in Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday evening.
The accident took place when the Howrah-Chennai Coromandel Superfast Express rammed into two derailed coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express at Bahanaga railway station in Bhadrak section of South Eastern railway. Bahanaga railway station is about 180 km from Bhubaneswar.
Under the impact of the collision, at least 15 coaches of the Coromandel Express went into a tailspin and capsized. The casualties could well rise as rescue and relief teams found evacuation extremely difficult as passengers lay crushed under the capsized coaches.
The Coromandel Express which bore the brunt of the impact has a passenger capacity of 1516. Going by preliminary reports, the deaths could well go beyond 30. Another source said the death toll could reach 70.
The Odisha government and Indian Railways mounted a massive rescue operation but found it difficult to move the injured from the site to different hospitals of Balasore.
Railway sources said two bogies of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express moving down line first derailed at the station and hit the Coromandel Express coming on the Up track at about 7 pm. At least 15 coaches of the Coromandel Express jumped off the track in the impact.
As news of the accident spread in the locality, hundreds of locals rushed to the spot to rescue trapped passengers. Sources said more than 300 injured passengers have been rescued so far and over 600 are still trapped.
The state government deputed DG fire services Sudhanshu Sarangi to monitor rescue operations. Four teams of Odisha disaster rapid action force (ODRAF) and four teams of national disaster response force (NDRF) teams have been sent for rescue operations.
Collector Balasore Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde has been directed to make all necessary arrangements. The injured passengers have been admitted to Soro CHC, Gopalpur CHC and Khantapada PHC.
As many as 50 ambulances and 15 fire fight teams from Balasore and Bhadrak districts have been pressed into service. However, the number of injured was so high that the ambulances were finding it difficult to move the injured. Relief trains from Kharagpur and Bhadrak were rushed to the spot.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik deputed Revenue Minister Pramila Mallick and several senior bureaucrats, including special relief commissioner Satyabrata Sahu and industries secretary Hemant Sharma, to supervise and support rescue operations. Naveen also rushed to the state control room to personally monitor the rescue and relief operation.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock. “Shocked to know that the Shalimar-Coromondel express, carrying passengers from West Bengal, collided with a goods train near Balasore today evening and some of our outbound people have been seriously affected/ injured. 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.
Chief secretary PK Jena said all efforts are in full swing. “Praying God to help the commuters. Other arrangements are also being made. Treatment for the injured in all Govt / pvt hospitals planned,” he tweeted.
He said, “We are sending a 5-6 member team to the spot to cooperate with the Odisha government and railway authorities and to assist rescue operations. I am monitoring the situation continually personally with Chief Secretary and other senior officers”.