Operations are on to rescue those trapped under derailed coaches in the mishap involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, Coromandel Express and a goods train; The Odisha government has issued the helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
At least 50 persons were feared dead and more than 300 injured in a major rail accident involving two express trains and a goods train in Balasore district of Odisha on Friday evening.
The State government has mobilised rescue teams from adjoining districts, while Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has solicited the help of the Air Force in the rescue operations.
A railway official said that several coaches of 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express travelling to Howrah derailed at Bahanagabazar and fell on the up-line. “These derailed coaches collided with 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too,” he said.
A goods train was also involved in the accident as the coaches of the Coromandel Express hit its wagons after getting derailed, the official said.
The accident occurred at around 7 p.m., about 255 km from Howrah, he said.
Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahoo said 47 people have so far been admitted to the Balasore Medical College and Hospital.
An eye-witness said several people were trapped under the derailed coaches, and local residents were assisting emergency services personnel to rescue them, but darkness was hindering the operation.
Odisha’s Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said 132 injured persons were admitted to Soro, Gopalpur and Khantapada health centres, while 47 people were admitted to the Balasore Medical College and Hospital.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed Special Relief Secretary Satyabrata Sahoo and Revenue Minister Pramila Malik to rush to the accident site, officials said.
Accident relief trains have been dispatched to the spot, a South Eastern Railway official said.
Four units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), three units of NDRF and 60 ambulances were working to rescue the injured, officials said.
The Odisha government has issued the helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, has expressed grief over the accident, along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected,” Mr. Modi tweeted.
Meanwhile, a team from Tamil Nadu led by its Transport Minister S.S. Sivasankar would leave for Odisha to help Tamils affected in the accident, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said.
Mr. Stalin also spoke to Mr. Pattnaik expressing concern over the accident. Information shared by Mr. Pattnaik was “worrisome”, Mr. Stalin said in a social media post. The CM has ordered for setting up a helpline. Three IAS officers would accompany the Transport Minister to Odisha.
Southern Railway has set up a round-the-clock helpline and control office at Chennai. A press release said, commuters and relatives could contact the helpline and control office at 044-25330952, 044-25330953, and 044-25354771.
The West Bengal government dispatched a four-member team comprising a Minister and an MP to the accident site. The team comprising of State Minister Manas Ranjan Bhunia, Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen and a retired officer of Indian Railways as well as an Additional District Magistrate will be stationed at Balasore where the accident had occurred.
West Bengal Chief Secretary H. K. Dwivedi said that the team will coordinate with Railway officials as well as the Government of Odisha in providing rescue and relief to the affected passengers.
Describing the accident as “severe in nature”, the Chief Secretary said that the Balasore District Magistrate has sought for ambulances which have been sent by the West Bengal government.