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Odisha: 2 Trains Derail At Balasore, At Least 261 Killed And Around 900 Injured

The two trains that derailed were the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express. A goods train was also involved in the accident as a passenger train, after it derailed, collided with it.

Rescue operation being conducted after four coaches of the Coromandel Express derailed after a head-
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In one of the deadliest train accidents lately, two trains derailed in Odisha's Balasore on Friday evening, killing at least 261 and injuring around 900.

The two trains that derailed were the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express. A goods train was also involved in the accident as the Coromandel Express, after it derailed, collided with it.

The accident took place near Bahanaga Station in Odisha's Balasore. 

"The death toll in the Balasore train accident has risen to 261," said South East Railway spokesperson Aditya Chowdhury on Saturday, adding that "rescue of injured passengers has been completed".

Visuals from the site shared by PTI show derailed bogies and injured persons.

VIDEO | Several boggies of the Chennai-Howrah Coromandel Express are reported to have derailed after it collided with a goods train. Several casualties are also feared in the accident. pic.twitter.com/lPlVtG5uy2

— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 2, 2023

What we know of the accident?

The accident happened around 7 pm near Bahanaga Bazar station. 

Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks, an official said.

"These derailed coaches collided with the 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too," he said.

A goods train was also involved in the accident as some of the coaches of the Coromandel Express, which was heading to Chennai, hit its wagons after getting derailed, he added.

Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma told PTI Video that the Coromandel Express derailed first, and its 10-12 coaches fell on the line on which the Bengaluru-Howrah Express was travelling, forcing it to jump off the tracks.

Late in the night, Jena said three trains were involved in the accident.

The differing versions of the accident could not be immediately reconciled.

The toll of the Odisha rail accident

At least 261 have been killed and around 900 others have been injured in the Odisha train accident.

Officials in Bhubaneswar said 115 ambulances, 50 buses, and 45 mobile health units were working at the accident site, besides 1,200 personnel. The bodies were being taken to the hospitals in all kinds of vehicles, including tractors.

Earlier on Friday night, a PTI reporter at the spot said several people were trapped under the derailed coaches, and locals were assisting emergency services personnel to rescue them, but darkness was hindering the operation.

Visuals from a nearby district hospital where the injured have been taken to. pic.twitter.com/jVPlZreR0C

— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 2, 2023

"The death toll in the Balasore train accident has risen to 261," said South East Railway spokesperson Aditya Chowdhury on Saturday, adding that "rescue of injured passengers has been completed".

Relief and rescue work

Jena shared on Twitter that Special Relief Commissioner Hemant Sharma and Fire Services Director General Balwant Singh have been deputed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to supervise and support rescue operations. He also said that Balasore and Cuttack districts have been put on readyness.

Jena also said that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been mobilised. 

"3 NDRF, 4 ODRAF, several fire services units, >50 ambulances, aska lights also mobilised. Doctors alerted. All efforts in full swing. Praying God to help the commuters. Other arrangements are also being made. Treatment for the injured  in all government/private hospitals planned," said Jena on Twitter.

3NDRF, 4ODRAF, several fire services units, >50 ambulances, aska lights also mobilised. Doctors alerted. All efforts in full swing.praying God to help the commuters. Other arrangements r also being made. Treatment for the injured in all Govt / pvt hospitals planned. @IPR_Odisha

— Pradeep Jena IAS (@PradeepJenaIAS) June 2, 2023

Locals said they heard consecutive loud sounds, following which they rushed to the spot and found the derailed coaches, which were nothing but "a mangled heap of steel".

"The local people really went out on a limb to help us... They not only helped in pulling out people but retrieved our luggage and got us water," Rupam Banerjee, one of the passengers, told reporters.

Pijush Poddar, a resident of Berhampore in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, was travelling to Tamil Nadu in the Coromandel Express to join work there when the accident happened.

"We were jolted and suddenly saw the train bogie turn on one side. Many of us were thrown out of the compartment by the momentum of the derailment. When we managed to crawl out, we found bodies lying all around," he said.

More than 2,000 people gathered at the Balasore Medical College and Hospital in the night to help the injured, and many also donated blood.

Chief Secretary Jena thanked the volunteers who donated blood to the accident victims in their hour of need.

"Five hundred units of blood collected overnight here at Balasore. Nine hundred units in stock at present. This will help in treating the accident victims. I'm personally indebted & grateful to all the volunteers who've donated blood for a noble cause," Jena tweeted.

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Gas cutters were used to bring out the bodies from under the derailed coaches. "Some of the scenes at the site were too gory to describe," said another passenger.

Emergency contact numbers have also been released.

Helpline Numbers to address issues related to train-derailment at Bahanaga near #Balasore,#Odisha.@RailMinIndia @AshwiniVaishnaw @PIB_India @EastCoastRail @DRMKhurdaRoad @drmkgp pic.twitter.com/0hfl0CIyS2

— PIB in Odisha (@PIBBhubaneswar) June 2, 2023

Rs 10 lakh compensation to deceased: Centre

The Centre has announced compensation for the casualties in the Odisha train accident.

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced the compensation of Rs 10 lakh in case of death, Rs 2 lakh in case of grievous injury, and Rs 50,000 for minor injuries. 

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In a separate tweeted, Vaishnaw said that he is leaving for the accident site and "will take all hands required for the rescue ops".

Leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik, and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also reacted to the incident.

Modi said he is "distressed" from the news of the accident and has spoken to the Railway Minister regarding it.

"Spoke to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," said Modi in a tweet.

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Patnaik tweeted in Odia that he is concerned by the train accident and has directed the officials to supervise the rescue efforts.

"The Revenue Minister and SRC have ordered to visit the spot and supervise all the work. We wish everyone the best of care and the best of luck to the injured," said Patnaik in a tweet, according to translation provided by Twitter.

Patnaik also visited the SRC office to review the situation. He will visit the site today.

Mamata expressed shock at the accident and announced emergency contact numbers. She also said that officials are being sent to the site.

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"We are coordinating with Odisha government and South Eastern Railways for our people's sake. Our emergency control room has been activated at once with numbers 033- 22143526/ 22535185. All out efforts for rescue, retrieval, aid and assistance initiated...We are sending a 5- 6 members  team to the spot to cooperate with the Odisha government and railway authorities and to assist rescue operations," said Mamata on Twitter. 

(With PTI inputs)

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