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India: Catastrophic Train Accident Claims 288 Lives; Over 850 Injured

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Two Indian trains collided in the eastern state of Odisha which led to the death of at least 288 people and over 850 others suffered injuries, according to a state government source’s information given to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The incident is the deadliest train tragedy in over 20 years.

According to AFP, Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of the Odisha Fire Services, added that “rescue work is still going on” and that “a lot of serious injuries” had occurred.

On Twitter, Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena announced that over 200 ambulances and an extra 100 physicians had been mobilised to the scene of the accident that occurred on Friday in the Balasore district of Odisha.

“I was asleep. 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,” told a male survivor to Indian news channel, NDTV.

Video from Friday showed passengers waving for help and crying close to the debris as rescuers climbed up one of the crumpled trains to look for lives.

The Howrah Superfast Express, which travels from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which travels from Kolkata to Chennai, at around 19:00 local time (0530 MUT), on Friday.

Authorities have given conflicting information over which train derailed first, causing it to collide with the other. According to the Ministry of Railways, an investigation into the occurrence has begun.

Involvement of a goods train in the collision could be a possibility as some reports along with Jena’s statements suggest the same.

There has been a massive search and rescue operation set up, involving hundreds of firefighters, police officers, and sniffing dogs. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force were also there.

Number of blood donators increased as hundreds of people waited up outside a government hospital in Soro, Odisha, on Friday.

Indian Railways claims that its network makes it possible for more than 13 million people to travel each day. Due to outdated infrastructure, the state-run monopoly has a mixed safety record.

In remembrance of the victims, the state has designated Saturday as a day of national mourning.

The deadliest railway catastrophe to ever happen in India took place in 1981 when a train in the state of Bihar fell off a bridge and into a river, killing an estimated 800 persons.

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