India train crash: More than 230 dead after Odisha accident

  • Written by Yaroslav Lukiev and George Wright
  • BBC News

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Video footage showed rescuers trying to free victims from the wreckage

At least 233 people are now known to have been killed and 900 injured in a multiple train collision in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, officials said.

More than 200 ambulances have been dispatched to the scene of the accident in Balasore district, says Chief Secretary of Odisha Pradeep Gina.

It is believed that one passenger train derailed before colliding with another on the adjacent track late Friday.

It is the worst train accident in India this century. Officials say the death toll is expected to rise further.

Indian Railways said the two services involved were Coromandel Express and Howrah Superfast Express.

Gina said 233 bodies have been recovered so far.

He said earlier that more than 100 additional doctors had been mobilized.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the accident and his thoughts were with the bereaved families.

“Rescue operations are underway at the accident site and all possible assistance is being provided to those affected,” he wrote on Twitter.

On the other hand, Home Minister Amit Shah called the incident “extremely painful”.

One survivor said, “10 to 15 people fell on me when the accident happened and everything went wrong. I was at the bottom of the pile.

The survivor told ANI of India: “I was shot in the hand and also in the back of my neck. When I got out of the train carriage, I saw someone lost a hand, someone lost a leg, while someone’s face was disfigured.” news agency.

A day of mourning has been declared in the state.

It is believed that several carriages of the Shalimar – Chennai Coromandel Express derailed at around 19:00 local time (13:30 GMT), with some ending up in the opposite lane.

Another train – the Howrah Superfast Express traveling from Yesvantpur to Howrah – is then believed to have hit overturned carriages.

Indian officials said that a goods train – which was stationary at the site – was also involved in the accident. They did not provide any other details.

Some of the surviving passengers were seen rushing to help rescue those trapped under the rubble.

Local bus companies are also helping transport injured passengers.

India has one of the largest train networks in the world and accidents are common, despite successive governments investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve infrastructure, says BBC South Asia regional editor Anbarsan Ithrajan.

India’s worst train disaster was in 1981, when an overcrowded passenger train derailed and plunged into a river during a cyclone in Bihar, killing at least 800 people.

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