Disasters & Accidents

India train accident death toll rises to 261

(Update 1: updates death toll)

New Delhi, Jun 3 (EFE).- Indian authorities on Saturday raised the death toll to 261 a day after three trains collided in the eastern state of Odisha in the worst railway accident in the country in a decade, while around 900 people were injured in the incident.

“According to the information received so far, 261 people have died,” the Southeastern Railways said in a statement.

The information comes after extensive search and rescue operations at the accident spot were wrapped up on Saturday morning.

The incident took place at 7.20 pm on Friday in the Balasore district.

Although the authorities have not clarified the exact sequence of events, the accident took place when the first passenger train – plying between the western city of Kolkata and Chennai (south) – derailed, after which a goods train and another passenger train going from Bengaluru (south) to Kolkata collided with parts of the first train and each other.

“One bogie (train wagon) has been found severely damaged and had rammed into another bogie,” Odisha’s regional general secretary Pradeep Jena told reporters.

The authorities have announced a day of mourning in Odisha, and said that the families of the deceased would be given a compensation of over $12,000, while the seriously injured passengers would receive $2,500. A $600 compensation would be given for light injuries.

The crash marks the worst railway accident in the country in a decade, and resulted in the cancellation of around a dozen trains while many others were diverted.

In 1999, the collision of two trains in the state of West Bengal left 288 dead, while 800 people were killed in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge and fell into a river in the northern state of Bihar.

India’s railway network is the fourth largest in the world after the United States, Russia and China, with a coverage of over 68,000 kilometers.

It transports around 23 million passengers daily in over 21,600 trains moving through 7,349 stations. EFE


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