Two trains collided in India’s eastern Odisha state, resulting in the deaths of at least 207 people and injuries to 900 others.
On Friday night, the Coromandel Express and Howrah Superfast Express trains collided when the first train derailed and was then hit by the second train on the adjacent track in the Balasore district. Emergency services were dispatched to the scene, with over 200 ambulances and more than 100 additional doctors sent to help.
The director general of the fire department in Odisha, Sudhanshu Sarangi, confirmed that 207 bodies had been recovered so far. Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena had earlier stated that the death toll was expected to increase further.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and shared his thoughts with the bereaved families, while Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his distress at the incident.
Survivors of the accident described the situation as chaotic and frightening. One survivor who spoke to India’s ANI news agency said that “10 to 15 people fell on me when the accident happened and everything went haywire. I was at the bottom of the pile. I got hurt in my hand and also the back of my neck. When I came out of the train bogie, I saw someone had lost their hand, someone had lost their leg, while someone’s face was distorted.” Many others were also injured or killed in the crash.
The train crash occurred when several carriages from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed, with some of them ending up on the opposite track. Another train, the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah, then hit the overturned carriages. Indian officials have also said that a goods train, which was stationary at the site, was also involved in the incident, but provided no further details.
Some surviving passengers were seen rushing in to help rescue those trapped in the wreckage, and local bus companies were also helping to transport wounded passengers. Accidents on India’s large train networks are common, despite successive governments investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure, according to BBC South Asia regional editor Anbarasan Ethirajan.