BREAKING: Nearly 300 killed, 900 wounded, death toll rises in India train disaster

June 3, 2023

2.6 min readCategories: International

At least 288 people have died with some 900 people hospitalised in a three-train collision in India last night – the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.

Rescuers continued to wade through piles of debris and wreckage to pull out bodies and free survivors on Saturday after two passenger trains derailed in India, hitting a stationary freight train on an adjacent track. The harrowing scenes saw the rail cars tossed far from the tracks and others flipped over entirely in one of the country’s deadliest train crashes in decades.

The accident, which happened about 137 miles (220km) southwest of Kolkata on Friday night, led to a chaotic scene as rescuers climbed atop the wrecked trains to break open doors and windows using cutting torches to free survivors.

Smashed train compartments had been torn open in the impact, leaving blood-stained holes in their sides.

The death toll is still expected to rise throughout the day as rescuers continue to pull bodies from the wreckage.

Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, said the death toll stood at 288 but was expected to go higher, potentially approaching 380.

‘Many people who have been rushed to hospitals are succumbing there and we are still taking out the dead bodies,’ he told reporters.

‘The rescue work is still ongoing here as there are some bodies under the bogies and teams are trying to lift them to get them out.’

About 900 people were injured in the accident said P.K. Jena, the state’s top administrative official. The cause was under investigation.

Rescuers were cutting through the destroyed rail cars to find people who may still be trapped. Sarangi said it was possible that people were stuck underneath but that it was unlikely they would still be alive. Late Friday, hundreds were trapped inside more than a dozen wrecked carriages as rescuers worked to pull them out.

‘By 10 p.m. (on Friday) we were able to rescue the survivors. After that it was about picking up dead bodies,’ he said. ‘This is very, very tragic. I have never seen anything like this in my career.’

Ten to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto a nearby track, said Amitabh Sharma, a railroad ministry spokesperson. The debris was hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction, causing up to three coaches of the second train to also derail, he added.

A third train carrying freight was also involved, the Press Trust of India reported. PTI said some of the derailed passenger coaches hit cars from the freight train.

The death toll rose steadily throughout the night as footage showed shattered carriages that had overturned completely. Scores of dead bodies, covered by white sheets, lay on the ground near the train tracks as locals and rescuers raced to help survivors.

Credit: Daily Mail

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About the Author: Olumide Akinrinlola

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