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India's Deadliest Train Crash in Decades Claims the Lives of at Least 288

Global Leaders Extend Condolences Following India's Worst Train Crash in Decades

By Fathima RaheemaPublished 4 months ago 3 min read

BAHANAGA, India, June 3 (Reuters) - Officials reported that at least 288 people have lost their lives in what is considered India's most devastating rail crash in over 20 years. The incident occurred on Saturday when a passenger train derailed and collided with another train due to a signal failure, as stated in a preliminary report.

During the accident in the Balasore district of Odisha state, the train also struck a parked freight train, resulting in a chaotic scene of mangled rail cars. A total of 803 individuals sustained injuries, and the death toll is expected to rise. The South Eastern Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer, K. S. Anand, confirmed the current death toll.

Eyewitnesses reported that trapped bodies remain in the wreckage, and the rescue operation is ongoing. Anand stated that the accident was caused by a signal failure, which diverted the Coromandel Express to the loop line instead of the main line. As a result, the train collided with the parked goods train, causing coaches to topple and derailing the Howrah Superfast Express.

Anubha Das, a survivor of the accident, expressed the harrowing scenes he witnessed, including crushed families, limbless bodies, and a tragic bloodbath on the tracks.

Videos depicted the derailed coaches and damaged tracks, with rescue teams working tirelessly to extricate survivors and transport them to hospitals. Makeshift morgues, such as a local school, displayed lifeless bodies covered in white cloths, awaiting identification by grieving relatives. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the scene, interacting with rescue workers, inspecting the wreckage, and meeting survivors at hospitals.

Expressing his deep sorrow, Prime Minister Modi stated, "(I) took stock of the situation at the site of the tragedy in Odisha. Words can't capture my deep sorrow. We stand committed to providing all possible assistance to those affected."

Rescue personnel involved in the operation described the chilling cries of the injured and bereaved family members, illustrating the horrific and heart-wrenching nature of the incident.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced compensation for the affected families, with 1 million rupees ($12,000) provided to the families of the deceased. The seriously injured will receive 200,000 rupees, while those with minor injuries will be granted 50,000 rupees. Some state governments have also announced additional compensation.

Survivors shared their traumatic experiences, with one unidentified male recounting waking up to the noise of the derailment, witnessing numerous casualties and dismembered bodies. Footage from the incident showed rescuers searching for survivors, while distressed passengers sought help and wept amidst the wreckage.

The collision transpired at approximately 7 p.m. (1330 GMT) on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express traveling from Bengaluru to Howrah in West Bengal collided with the Coromandel Express en route from Kolkata to Chennai.

Indian Railways, responsible for transporting over 13 million people daily, has struggled with safety issues due to aging infrastructure. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik described the crash as an "extremely tragic" event, and opposition Congress party leader Jairam Ramesh emphasized the need for prioritizing rail network safety.

While the Modi administration has introduced high-speed trains as part of railway modernization efforts, critics argue that insufficient attention has been given to safety and upgrading aging infrastructure. This recent train accident is seen as a setback to the government's plans for transformation.

India's deadliest railway accident occurred in 1981 when a train plunged into a river after a bridge collapse in Bihar state, resulting in an estimated 800 fatalities.

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Fathima Raheema

As a seasoned writer, your captivating prose has entranced readers worldwide. Your unique style blends vivid imagery with raw emotion, drawing inspiration from your diverse experiences. storytelling,

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