In a matter of a few minutes, an express train entered a wrong track, hit a stationary goods train, its coaches got scattered all around including on an adjoining track, and another train coming at a high speed rammed into them and derailed.
Reports said that seventeen coaches were derailed, leaving many passengers dead, injured and trapped. According to a preliminary probe and eyewitness accounts, this is an estimated timeline for one of the deadliest train accidents in the country that left at least 288 dead and more than 800 injured:
6:50 pm - Passengers on board Coromandel Express heard a loud bang when the train rammed into a goods train parked in the loop line.
Latest visuals from the train accident site in Balasore, Odisha. pic.twitter.com/XZErVBU0Me— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 2, 2023
6:55 pm - Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express crashes into stray coaches of Coromandel Express.
7:10 pm - Local people arrive at the scene and help in rescuing passengers.
7:30 pm - Local authorities, police and emergency services turn up at the accident site.
8:00-9:00 pm - A large number of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff from B R Singh Hospital & Orthopedics Hospital-Howrah of Eastern Railway rushed to site.
9:30 pm - DM arranged for buses to be sent to site to evacuate those with minor injuries.
9:59 pm - Announcement of the cancellation of the inauguration of the Mumbai-Goa Vande Bharat train.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reaches accident site, announces a high level probe into the incident. While it is not clear what caused the crash, sources indicate a possible signalling failure.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reaches the spot. He declared one-day state mourning on Saturday in view of the horrific accident.
Railways says that rescue operations have been completed after 18 hours since the crash and restoration work is underway.
Announcement of a review meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the incident which was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other government officials.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reaches Odisha. Banerjee, who has been the Railway minister twice, said the crash could have been averted had the anti-collision system was operational on this route. She made these claims standing next to the railway minister.
Mansukh Mandaviya deploys team of doctors from AIIMS Bhubaneswar for train mishap victims.
Restoration work begins at site, says rail minister.
PM Narendra Modi arrives at the accident site. He said strong action would be taken against anyone found guilty. Noting that this train accident will be a lesson for the country, he said the government will further stress on the safety of the passengers.
PM Modi leaves site to meet survivors at hospitals.
Restoration work in full swing; 500 labourers at site; 500 more waiting at site for cranes to clear debris.
(With inputs from PTI)