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Odisha train accident: Preliminary inquiry report submitted; 90 Trains cancelled, 46 diverted

The preliminary inquiry report states that the signal "was given and train number 12841 was dispatched for the Up main line, but the train entered the Up loop line and collided with a goods train standing on the loop line and derailed". ."

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Balasore/Bhubaneswar: Investigators are probing the train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday from human error, signal failure and other possible aspects. The officials have submitted the preliminary investigation report of this horrific train accident. At least 288 passengers died and 803 passengers were injured in the accident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the accident site and was briefed by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav as well as officials of disaster management teams. He also met some of the injured in the hospital.

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PM Modi said, “I have no words to express my pain. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty for the train accident. No one will be spared.”

The incident took place when Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and Bengaluru-Howrah Express derailed and collided with a goods train in Balasore district at around 7 pm on Friday. There were about 2500 passengers in both the passenger trains.

21 coaches were derailed and severely damaged in the accident, trapping hundreds of passengers. Both the passenger trains were running at high speed and experts have cited this as one of the main reasons for the high number of casualties.

After the train accident, about 90 trains have been cancelled, while the route of 46 trains has been changed. Along with this, 11 trains have already been stopped before their destination. Most of the trains affected due to the accident belong to the South and South-East Railway zones.

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The crash site looked as if a powerful tornado had hurled the train coaches on top of each other like toys. Large cranes were brought in to clear the debris and gas cutters were used to extract the bodies from the damaged coaches.

The passengers injured in the accident have been admitted to various hospitals.

In the preliminary investigation of the train accident, it has been found that the Coromandel Express train that crashed, instead of the main route, went on the ‘Loop Line’ just before Bahanga Bazar station and collided with a goods train parked there.

It is understood that the coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express also overturned after hitting the coaches of the damaged Coromandel Express on the adjacent track.

Citing the report available till Saturday afternoon, an official said that 288 passengers have died in the accident. At the same time, the condition of 56 injured is critical.

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Several passengers aboard the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, returning to their families after working for several months in South India, suddenly fell from their seats and lost their lights when they heard a loud noise.

Mizan-ul-Haq, a resident of Bardhaman, was in a compartment at the rear of the train.

Haq, who was returning from Karnataka, said, “The train was running at high speed. Around 7 pm, there was a loud noise and everything started shaking. I fell from the top seat to the floor as soon as the power went off inside the bogie.”

Railways has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh each for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 each for the minorly injured.

The country’s worst train accident happened in Bihar in 1981. A train fell into the Bagmati river while crossing the bridge, killing more than 750 passengers aboard.

In the year 1995 in Uttar Pradesh, Purushottam Express collided with Kalindi Express standing near Firozabad. About 305 passengers were killed in that accident.

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