India Train Crash Kills Hundreds, Injures Over 1,000 In Odisha State
A devastating train crash involving three trains has killed at least 288 people and injured over 1,000 more in Balasore, in eastern Odisha state, India. The collision, which occurred on Friday, is one of the worst rail disasters in the country’s history.
Rescuers are working to find survivors, with many people thought to be trapped under upturned carriages. While the cause of the crash remains unclear, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has ordered a high-level inquiry into the collision.
India’s rail network, which serves 13 million passengers daily and eight billion annually, has been plagued by safety issues due to years of neglect and deteriorating tracks. This incident has prompted renewed calls for authorities to address safety concerns.
Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, with hundreds of people donating blood to support the victims.
Rohit Raj, a 19-year-old survivor of the train crash in India, told CNN that he was sleeping when he heard a loud crash followed by smoke and people screaming. He saw people trapped and piled on top of each other, but thankfully he managed to escape. Another unnamed survivor who fell asleep was jolted awake when the train derailed, causing people to fall on top of him. He suffered injuries to his hand and neck and witnessed other passengers with severe injuries.
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Speaking to reporters Saturday, Narendra Singh Bundela, Inspector General of Operations at the National Disaster Response Force (NDRP), said teams have rescued passengers found alive at the site, but many bodies remain trapped under the derailed carriages. Bundela said, adding 17 coaches were derailed and severely damaged. He said:
The coaches are very heavy and it’s been a difficult task to remove them and identify bodies.
This is a serious incident and the government has ordered an inquiry,” he said. “This century for India, as far as I know, it is one of the (most) serious accidents.
The rescue effort for the train crash in India involves over 115 ambulances, multiple fire service units, the Indian army, National Disaster Response Force, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, and state fire services. Hundreds of people have gathered outside hospitals to donate blood, with 500 units collected overnight and 900 units currently in stock. The response demonstrates massive solidarity and support. However, some hospitals are already overwhelmed with volunteers, such as Manish, who couldn’t donate blood at Soro Block Hospital due to the high number of people offering to help.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences on Friday. He wrote:
Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.
Modi was on his way to visit the site of the deadly train crash in Odisha on Saturday morning, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office on Twitter.
In 2021, more than 16,000 people were killed in nearly 18,000 railway accidents across the country.