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Deadly Train Accident Claims Over 200 Lives; near Balasore, India

Perhaps this one of the most deadliest train accidents in the history of Indian Railways. Over 200 passengers are reported to be dead, and m...

Many mangled train carriages strewn across the tracks

Perhaps this one of the most deadliest train accidents in the history of Indian Railways. Over 200 passengers are reported to be dead, and many hundreds of the passengers injured in a triple train accident of Indian railways.

Rescue officials feeling helpless at the massive pile up, quickly planning next action

Coromandel Express (origin from Shalimar towards Chennai) collided with a stopped freight train that was plying on the same track near Balasore, Odisha. "This never happens with the intricately fail-safe signalling system that the Indian Railways has", explained one of the railway official who didn't want to be identified.

A train station superintendent in Odisha state explained on Saturday that a signaling failure can occur either due to a technical malfunction or human error, as traffic signals are often handled by personnel in every station.

Infographic map and aerial view of the collision site with mangled train carriages lying around

Adding to the death toll further was when a third train, the Howrah Express travelling from Yeswanthpur (origin station) towards Howrah, which collided with the carriages that were lying on its parallel track from the earlier accident which had occurred moments before it passed through the same section, resulting a massive pile up of carriages from both the passenger trains.

Rescue action in force on the accident site

As the sun rose on Saturday, rescuers scrambled over the tangle of wreckage and overturned train carriages in a desperate search for survivors. Passengers joined first responders in an effort to free those trapped. Officials said the death toll was suspected to rise further, as many passengers were thought to be pinned under train cars.

Modi speaks to officials and rescue workers at the site.

This accident also happened a day before the inauguration of Vande Bharat Express from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was expected to inaugurate the new high-speed train on Saturday, which was a part of his government’s massive investment into modernizing the country’s sprawling railway network and other infrastructure.. He quickly arrived to the accident spot to share his condolences. 

A “high-level inquiry” has been ordered into the collision to understand what caused the crash, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister of railways, told reporters on Saturday.

“We can’t bring back those we have lost but the government is with them (families) in their grief. This incident is very serious for the government … Whoever is found guilty will be punished severely,” Modi said, adding that the government would “leave no stone unturned.”

This deadly multi-train crash near the city of Balasore has strongly reverberated across India, questioning the authorities on the safety systems in the railway system, that transports over 13 million passengers every day across the sub-continent.

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