Dozens Dead, Hundreds Trapped as Indian Trains Derail

Accident happened in Odisha state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2023 2:36 PM CDT
Dozens Dead, Hundreds Trapped as Indian Trails Derail
Inspectors work at the site where two passenger trains derailed in the Balasore district of the Indian state of Odisha on Friday.   (Press Trust of India via AP)

Two passenger trains derailed in India on Friday, killing at least 50 people and trapping hundreds of others inside more than a dozen damaged coaches, officials said. About 400 people were injured and taken to hospitals after the accident, which happened nearly 1,000 miles northwest of the capital of New Delhi, officials said. The cause is under investigation, per the AP. Nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers with 75 ambulances and buses responded to the accident, said Pradeep Jena, the top bureaucrat of the state of Odisha. Rescuers were attempting to free 200 people feared trapped in the wreckage, said Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde, the top administrator in the Balasore district.

A railroad ministry spokesperson said 10 to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto a nearby track. It was then hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction. Up to three coaches of the second train also derailed. The Press Trust of India news agency said the derailed Coromandel Express was traveling from Howrah in West Bengal state to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the accident. "In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," tweeted Modi, who said he'd spoken to the railway minister and that "all possible assistance" was being offered.

Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents occur every year on India's railways, the largest train network under one management in the world. In August 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi, killing 358 people in the worst train accident in India's history. Most train accidents are blamed on human error or outdated signaling equipment. More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India every day, traveling on 40,000 miles of track.

(More India stories.)

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