Indian authorities are trying to understand the causes of the railway tragedy in which at least 288 people died. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed that “no one responsible will go unpunished.”
The Indian authorities try to understand the causes of the railway tragedy in which at least 288 people died, and assure that “no one responsible” for the accident will go unpunished.
Search and rescue operations for the victims have now been completed, raising questions about the exact sequence of events on Friday night.
Right now confusion reigns, but The Times of India newspaper, citing the preliminary report of the investigation, said on Sunday that “human error” may have caused the collision. between three trains, one of the worst rail disasters in the country’s history.
The Coromandel Express, which connects Calcutta with Madras, had the green light to travel on the main road, but was diverted by human error onto a track on which a freight train was already runningaccording to the newspaper.
The passenger train then collided with the freight train at a speed of about 130 km/h. Three carriages then fell onto the adjacent track, striking the rear of an express train. which circulated between Bangalore and Calcutta. This collision caused the most damage, the Times adds, citing the preliminary report.
The tragedy occurred near Balasore, some 200 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha, in eastern India.
On Saturday, the media claimed that a signaling error had occurred.
One passenger, Anubhav Das, said he heard “shrill and horrible sounds coming from far away”. The young man was traveling in the last car of the second train.
At least 288 people died in the tragedy and 900 were injured, the deadliest rail accident in nearly 30 years.
The death toll is expected to continue to rise.
But it is expected that the death toll continues to riseand could reach 380, according to Sudhanshu Sarangi, Director General of the Odisha State Fire Service.
“No one responsible” for the accident will be spared, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised. who visited the disaster site on Saturday and met the injured at the hospital.
“I pray that we get out of this sad moment as soon as possible,” he told Doordarshan public broadcaster.
All corpses and wounded evacuated
Some 24 hours after the accident, the rescue operations came to an end on Saturday afternoon, when survivors had already been searched among the destroyed corpses. “All the corpses and injured passengers have been evacuated from the accident site,” said a person in charge of the Balasore emergency coordination room, near the scene of the tragedy.
All hospitals located between the accident site and Bhubaneswar are receiving casualties, according to the authorities. Some 200 ambulances and even buses have been mobilized to transport them.
After the collision, “people were screaming, asking for help,” Arjun Das, a survivor, told an Indian television channel. Passengers were thrown from their bunks, “There were wounded lying everywhere inside the carriages and along the tracks”he added, stressing that he wanted to “forget the scenes” he witnessed.
Journalists saw overturned carriages and rescuers working tirelessly to get survivors out. Many corpses covered with white shrouds lay by the tracks.
Hiranmay Rath, a student whose home is near the tracks, rushed to help. It was as if “the sky fell or the earth cracked open”.
In the space of a few hours, he says he saw more “death and anguish” than he could have imagined. “Imagine looking at – or pulling out – someone’s crushed body, a severed arm or leg.”
“I saw bodies without heads, and others without limbs, bloody bodies,” Anubhav Das also testified, “it was almost like war.”
At the moment, the train accident on Friday night is the deadliest in India since 1995when two express trains collided in Firozabad, near Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, killing more than 300 people.
India has seen several deadly rail accidents, but safety has improved in recent years thanks to new investment and technological improvements.
However, the deadliest accident in the country’s history occurred on June 6, 1981, when seven carriages of a train crossing a bridge in the eastern state of Bihar plunged into the Bagmati River, killing between 800 and 1,000 people.