Odisha train accident: 70 killed, over 350 injured in fatal crash; here's what we know so far
The accident took place around 7 pm when the Chennai-bound Coromandel Superfast Express derailed and was rammed by the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express coming from the opposite direction.
BHUBANESWAR: At least 70 people were killed and more than 350 injured in a horrific triple-train crash in Odisha's Balasore district on Friday evening, one of the worst train accidents in recent history.
The accident took place around 7 pm when the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Superfast Express reportedly derailed and its coaches landed on a parallel track. The capsized coaches were then rammed by Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was coming from the opposite direction at Bahanaga, about 180 km from here.
Under the impact of the collision, at least 15 coaches of Coromandel Express went into a tailspin and capsized. A goods train was also involved in the accident as the coaches of the Coromandel Express hit its wagons after getting derailed.
The casualties could well rise as rescue and relief teams found evacuation extremely difficult with passengers crushed under the capsized coaches.
The train which bore the brunt of the impact has a passenger capacity of 1,516.
Going by preliminary reports, the death toll could go well beyond 50.
#WATCH | Balasore, Odisha: A passenger who was in one of the derailed trains tells about the moment when the horrific train accident took place leaving hundreds injured so far. pic.twitter.com/z9MWc0T5mA
— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2023
As news of the accident spread, hundreds of locals rushed to the spot to rescue trapped passengers. Sources said more than 300 injured passengers have so far been rescued and over 300 are still trapped.
The Odisha government and Indian Railways mounted a massive rescue operation but found it challenging to move the injured from the site to different hospitals in Balasore given the rising number of passengers hurt in the incident.
Railway sources said Coromandel Superfast Express coming on the up track derailed and its capsized coaches infringed the Down line. This is when the Bengaluru-Howrah Express ran right into it on the down line. At least 12 coaches of the Coromandel Express jumped off the track in the impact. Two coaches of the other train also were derailed.
As many as 115 ambulances and 20 fire fighting teams from Balasore and Bhadrak districts were pressed into service. Relief trains from Kharagpur and Bhadrak rushed to the spot.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik deputed Revenue Minister Pramila Mallick and several senior bureaucrats, including special relief commissioner Satyabrata Sahu and principal secretary of Industries Hemant Sharma, to supervise and support rescue operations.
Naveen also rushed to the state control room to personally monitor the rescue and relief operation. Expressing grief over the tragic train accident, he wished speedy recovery of injured passengers. He said he will fly to the spot on Saturday morning.
Speaking to media persons, CM Patnaik said, "Our first priority is to take injured persons to hospitals and save their lives. I have just reviewed the situation about this truly tragic railway accident. I will be visiting the spot tomorrow morning".
— TNIE Odisha (@XpressOdisha) June 2, 2023
The state government deputed DG fire services Sudhanshu Sarangi to monitor rescue operations. Four teams from the Odisha disaster rapid action force (ODRAF) and four teams from the national disaster response force (NDRF) teams have been sent for rescue operations.
Three NDRF teams are working at the triple train crash site while six more are being rushed to the spot, officials said on Friday. The estimated strength of these nine teams is about 240 personnel.
Balasore collector 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.
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 government and private hospitals have been planned," he said.
The Odisha government has issued a helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) June 2, 2023
Meanwhile, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said he was rushing to the accident site and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh in case of death, Rs 2 lakh towards grievous and Rs 50,000 for minor injuries.
"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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and took 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. Rescue operations are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," he tweeted.
Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed shock over the incident and announced a six-member team that will reach the spot to assist the Odisha government and railway authorities in rescue operations.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also spoke with his Odisha counterpart to inquire about the accident and expressed his condolences to those feared dead in the accident. He has also directed a team of three IAS officials to Odisha to help rescue the Tamil Nadu-bound passengers involved in the accident
Timeline of the accident and what we know so far
- Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express leaves Howrah station at 3.20 pm
- Reaches Balasore at 6.30 pm
- Halts at Balasore for about 5 minutes
- Crosses Panapana station at 6.50 pm
- Coromandel Express on up line derails at about 7 pm
- Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express moving on down line hits Coromandel Express
- 2 coaches of Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express go off track
- 7 coaches of Coromandel Express capsize
- 4 coaches of Coromandel Express displaced outside the railway boundary
- At least 70 dead and over 350 people injured so far
- Ex-gratia announced by Railway Minister
* Rs 10 Lakh in case of death
* Rs 2 Lakh towards grievous injuries
* Rs 50,000 for minor injuries
- Ex-gratia announced by PMO
* Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of each deceased
* Rs 50,000 for those injured
(With additional inputs from PTI, ANI)