Ashwini Vaishnaw

Odisha train accident: Railway minister visits site, says focus on rescue and relief

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Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday visited the site of the rail disaster in Odisha which killed at least 233 people and left another 900 injured in one of the worst such tragedies in the country.

The main focus is now on rescue and relief operations, the minister said, adding that the Commissioner of Railway Safety, South East Circle, will probe the train accident.

The tragedy, which took place on Friday evening, involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train.

The cause of the accident will be known after the Commissioner submits his report, the minister said.

Wielding gas torches and electric cutters, rescuers worked through the night to pull out survivors and the dead from the mangled steel of the trains that derailed one on top of another.

Medical services

Officials in Bhubaneswar said 200 ambulances, 50 buses and 45 mobile health units were still deployed at the accident site besides 1,200 personnel.

The bodies were being taken to the hospitals in all kinds of vehicles, including tractors.

The train crash, the fourth deadliest in India according to available records, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar.

Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express crashed into them, and its coaches capsized too.

Some of the coaches of the Coromandel Express heading to Chennai hit the wagons of a stationary goods train after being derailed, adding to the disaster.

(With agency inputs)

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