Nearly 300 Dead in Indian Train Derailment

Two passenger trains derailed Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Odisha state of India, claiming an estimated 288 lives and injuring 850 more, according to state officials. The death toll is expected to rise as many passengers are still stuck both within the cars and under the wreckage.

The passenger train originally derailed and jumped the track, hitting another passenger train going in the opposite direction. It is suggested another freight train has joined in the pileup, although authorities have neither confirmed nor denied this. 

Rescue operations have been ongoing since Saturday morning, with more than 700 local authorities, military personnel, and civilians participating in operations. Pradeep Jena, the state chief secretary, has said that hundreds of ambulances and doctors have been sent to the crash site and that a blood drive has been organized. Following this news, hundreds of young people have reportedly lined up outside a government hospital in Odisha’s Soro to donate blood. 

Photo via: REUTERS/Stringer

“I was asleep,” a survivor told NDTV News. “I was woken up by the noise of the train derailing. Suddenly, I saw 10–15 people dead. I managed to come out of the coach, and then I saw a lot of dismembered bodies.”

49 trains have been canceled and 38 more have been diverted after the incident to avoid any further complications with the ongoing rescue operations.

“Distressed by the train accident in Odisha In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.” Prime Minister Modi wrote on Twitter, “May the injured recover soon.”

This marks one of the worst train crashes in India’s history and the worst since the start of the 2000s. India’s worst train crash was the Bihar train derailment, where up to 800 people were killed after the train derailed and crashed into the river Bagmati. 

Photo via: REUTERS/Stringer

“I have given out an order to conduct a high-level probe to find out why this accident happened,” Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told Asian News International after visiting the scene of the tragedy. 

Vaishnaw also announced on Twitter that victims of the crash would receive a payout of around $12,000 to the families of those killed, and between $600 and $2,400 for those suffering minor and grievous injuries. Many critics of the railway minister have called for his resignation following the tragedy, with some citing the resignation of the 1950s railway minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, following a derailment that had taken place.

The Indian government has declared Saturday a day of national mourning for those who lost their lives.

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent has years of experience and training in open source intelligence gathering and journalism. He specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs, with a broader interest in European politics. Trent serves as the Latin America Desk Chief for Atlas News.


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