Massive train crash in India

At least 288 people have died in a train crash in eastern India. Two passenger trains were involved, and nearly 1,000 people were injured.

Television footage from the scene showed damaged carriages, bent metal and a large number of passengers lying beside the crash site in Odisha state.

– The first priority now is rescuing the passengers and providing health care to the injured, said Pradeep Jena, head of state administration in Odisha.

The number of confirmed dead and injured continued to climb in the hours after Friday’s crash. As of Saturday evening local time, Jena said that at least 80 people had died and more than 850 injured people had been taken to hospital.

Trapped passengers

In the aftermath of the crash, rescue teams are working to get out several hundred people trapped in the wreckage of the train cars. This was stated by District Manager Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde in Balasore district.

All possible assistance is extended to those affected, signature of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Twitter.

MAJOR DAMAGE: Nearly 500 police officers and rescue teams, as well as 75 ambulances and buses, are said to have taken part in the rescue effort. Photo: Press Trust of India via AP/NTB
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One of the derailed trains was the Coromandel Express between Howrah in West Bengal state and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, according to Indian media.

Between ten and twelve train cars derailed in the accident, and debris ended up on adjacent tracks, a Ministry of Railways spokesman told AP news agency.

Another passenger train coming from the opposite direction crashed into the wreckage, and up to three carriages of this train also derailed.

Freight trains involved

A freight train was also involved in the incident, Indian Railways CEO Amitabh Sharma told AFP news agency. This train was parked at the accident site.

Nearly 500 police officers and rescue teams, as well as 75 ambulances and buses, have taken part in the rescue effort, according to Pradeep Jena. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

India’s rail network is the largest in the world under a single central management. Every day, around 12 million Indians take the train.

Several hundred train accidents occur in India every year, and many of them are caused by outdated signaling systems or human error. In recent years, major new investments have contributed to improving rail traffic safety in India.

Lance Heptinstall

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