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At least 280 killed and hundreds injured after India train crash

At least 280 people have been killed after at least two trains were involved in a crash in eastern India.

It happened about 130 miles southwest of Kolkata, in Odisha’s Balasore district, at around 7pm local time on Friday.

It is the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than two decades.

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Hundreds dead after India train crash

People stand next to damaged coaches after two passenger trains collided in Balasore district in the eastern state of Odisha, India, June 3, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Between 10 and 12 carriages of one train derailed and debris fell on a nearby track, said rail spokesperson Amitabh Sharma.

The debris was hit by another train coming from the opposite direction and up to three carriages from that train also derailed.

Fire services chief Sudhanshu Sarangi told the Press Trust of India that more than 850 people were injured – many of them seriously.

A third train carrying freight was also reportedly involved, but authorities have not yet confirmed it.

Rescuers were still trying to free hundreds of people feared trapped in carriages on Saturday morning, said Balasore authorities.

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Survivor describes train crash

The incident took place in the Balasore district in Odisha state

Odisha chief secretary Pradeep Jena tweeted that more than 200 ambulances had been sent to the scene.

Video showed police moving bodies covered in white cloths off the tracks and the army has now been sent to help rescue efforts.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “distressed” and that “all possible assistance” was being offered.

India’s worst train disasters

June 1981: India’s most deadly train disaster happened in Bihar state, near the Nepalese border. At least 800 people died after seven coaches of an overcrowded passenger train blew off the track and into a river during a cyclone.

July 1988: In Quilon, southern India, 106 people died when an express train derailed and fell into a monsoon-heavy lake.

August 1995: At least 350 people were killed when two trains collided 125 miles from Delhi.

August 1999: Two trains crashed near Calcutta, killing 285 people.

October 2005: In Andhra Pradesh state, at least 77 people died when several coaches of a passenger train derailed.

July 2011: In Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, a mail train derailed, killing 70 people and injuring more than 300.

November 2016: An express train derailed in Uttar Pradesh, killing 146 people and injuring more than 200.

January 2017: In Andhra Pradesh, 41 people died when several coaches of a passenger train left the track.

October 2018: At least 59 people died in Amritsar city, northern India when a commuter train crashed into a crowd gathered on the track for a festival. Fifty-seven people were injured.

‘I saw 10 to 15 people dead’

Speaking from India, Sky reporter Neville Lazarus said all hospitals in Balasore were on high alert.

He said the trains involved ran along “one of the main artery tracks” of the eastern side of the country’s rail network.

Vandana Kaleda told New Delhi Television she “found people falling on each other” as her carriage shook violently and veered off the tracks. She said she was lucky to survive.

Another survivor, who did not give his name, said he was sleeping when the crash happened.

Rescuers work at the scene. Press Trust of India/AP
Pic: AP
Pic: Press Trust of India via AP
Pic: AP

“I was woken up by the noise of the train derailing,” he said.

“Suddenly I saw 10 to 15 people dead. I managed to come out of the coach, and then I saw a lot of dismembered bodies.”

More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India every day, travelling on 40,000 miles of track.

Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents occur every year on India’s railways, the largest train network under one management in the world.


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