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280+ killed, over 1,000 people injured in Odisha: Deadliest train crash tragedy of the century

The Coromandel Express headed to Chennai derailed, collided with other trains resulting in heavy civilian casualties, world mourns.

 At least 280 persons were feared dead and more than 1000 injured in a major rail accident involving two express trains and a goods train in Balasore district of Odisha on Friday evening.

The accident took place at around 7 p.m. when two coaches of 12864 (SMVB-HWH) Yashwantpur-Howrah Express derailed near Bahanaga Railway station in Balasore district. The derailed coaches tossed over to the adjoining track and hit the speeding 12841 Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction. It led to derailment of about 17 bogies.


Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced on Saturday that he has ordered a high-level probe into the derailment. “The accident was unfortunate, and the rescue operation began shortly after the incident was reported to his ministry,” the minister said, as quoted by ANI. The railway ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs. 2 lakh to those severely injured, and Rs. 50,000 to those who sustained with minor injuries.

As eye-witnesses recounted the horror, Anubhav Das, a Twitter user, who claimed to be a passenger of the fateful Coromandel Express, put out a Twitter thread. “As a passenger on the Coromandel Express from Howrah to Chennai, I am extremely thankful to have escaped unscathed. It probably is the biggest train accident related incident…Not to exaggerate but I have myself witnessed more than 200-250 deaths. Families crushed away, limbless bodies and a bloodbath on the train tracks. It was a sight that I will never forget. God help the families. My condolences,” Das tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening visited the train accident site in Odisha’s Balasore and said those responsible “will be severely punished”. The government is standing with those who lost their family members in the tragedy, he said.

“It’s a painful incident. The government will leave no stone unturned for the treatment of those injured. It’s a serious incident, instructions issued for probe from every angle. Those found guilty will be severely punished,” he said.


PM Modi landed in an Air Force chopper near the site of the incident at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Balasore district, about 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. He visited the injured at the Balasore District Hospital to meet the crash survivors. The PM was seen inspecting the site with fellow cabinet colleagues, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

He spoke to the Cabinet Secretary and the Health Minister, and asked them to ensure all needed help is provided to the injured and their families. So far, at least 280 people have lost their lives in the tragedy, and over 900 have been injured. PM Modi reviewed the ongoing rescue and relief operations, and interacted with local authorities, personnel from the disaster relief forces and railways officials.

He termed the incident ‘tragic’ and said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the state government and the Indian Army were involved with the rescue operations at the spot.

PM Modi also said that special care must be taken to ensure that the bereaved families don’t face inconvenience, and those affected keep getting the assistance they require.

The Odisha government has issued a helpline number – 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).

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.

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