At least 288 people have tragically lost their lives, and 900 others have been injured in a devastating collision between two passenger trains in Odisha state, India. This rail accident marks the country’s deadliest incident in more than ten years, according to a government official on Saturday.
The Chief Secretary of Odisha state, Pradeep Jena, shared on Twitter that the death toll from Friday’s crash is anticipated to increase. He further informed that over 200 ambulances have been deployed to the accident site in Balasore district, along with the mobilization of 100 additional doctors, supplementing the existing 80 already present.
Video footage captured by Reuters on Saturday morning showed police officials carefully removing bodies covered in white cloths from the railway tracks. Distressing footage from Friday depicted rescue workers climbing the wreckage of the trains in search of survivors, while passengers cried out for assistance.
The collision occurred around 19:00 local time (1330 GMT) on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express, traveling from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which runs between Kolkata and Chennai.
Conflicting reports have emerged regarding which train derailed first and became entangled with the other. The Ministry of Railways has initiated an investigation into the incident to determine the cause.
Although Chief Secretary Jena and some media sources have suggested the involvement of a freight train in the crash, railway authorities have not yet commented on this possibility.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation is underway, involving hundreds of firefighters, police officers, and sniffer dogs. National Disaster Response Force teams are also present at the site.
In a heartwarming gesture, hundreds of young individuals lined up outside a government hospital in Soro, Odisha, to donate blood on Friday.
Indian Railways, responsible for transporting over 13 million people daily, has faced safety concerns due to aging infrastructure, leading to a patchy safety record.
As a mark of respect to the victims, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of Odisha has declared a day of state mourning on June 3rd.