Former India captain Virat Kohli and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, among several other sportspersons, expressed their anguish over the devastating train accident in Odisha's Balasore district, that has killed at least 238 people and injured more than 900.
The train crash on Friday, involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train, is one of the deadliest such accidents since independence.
Officials in Bhubaneswar said 200 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.
Kohli, who is in England with the India team for the World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval from June 7, wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
"Saddened to hear about the tragic train accident in Odisha. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured," tweeted Kohli.
India's first individual Olympic gold medallist, rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, he had been left heartbroken by the news of the accident.
"Heartbreaking news from Odisha about the devastating train accident. My heart goes out to all those affected and their loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. Please, let's all extend our support and prayers to them. May the injured recover swiftly," tweeted Bindra, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist in 10m air rifle.
The train crash, the fourth deadliest in India according to available records, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250km south of Kolkata and 170km north of Bhubaneswar, around 7 pm on Friday, prompting the Railway Ministry to order a probe.
India cricketer Shreyas Iyer called the visuals coming from Balasore "shocking". "Shocking visuals from Odisha. Praying for those affected by the tragic train accident."
Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag paid his condolences to the families who lost their near-and-dear ones. "Extremely sad hearing about this tragic train accident involving Coromandel Express in Odisha. Condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones and prayers for quick recovery of those injured," wrote Sehwag.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan termed it a "heart-wrenching news". "Heart wrenching news coming from Odisha. My thoughts and prayers for the families who lost their lives in this horrific train accident," wrote Pathan.
Former pace bowler Venkatesh Prasad wrote, "Very pained and anguished by the tragic train accident in Odisha. Passenger safety must be prioritised. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones and prayers for smooth recovery of the injured."
Former India hockey skipper and current federation president Dilip Tirkey tweeted, "Deeply saddened to hear about the Balasore train accident. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this incredibly difficult time. We stand together in support and offer our deepest condolences."