233 dead in Balasore Coromandel Express train accident; Railway Minister has ordered a high-level inquiry
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw ordered a high-level probe into the Coromandel Express Derailment in Odisha’s Balasore on Friday night. He is now inspecting the ground situation with high-level officials at the accident site.
Mr. Vaishnaw said the accident was unfortunate and the rescue operation began soon as the Ministry came to know of it. The railway authorities have controlled several trains at different stations in the wake of a mishap, he added. Besides, the Railways cancelled and diverted certain trains following the incident.
The death toll of the tragic train accident in Balasore’s Bahanaga station in Odisha has risen to 233, and more than 900 are feared critically injured. Informing this, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said the death and causality toll would increase as rescue operations were underway at the site. Rescue teams from Odisha and West Bengal have been mobilised, including Defence forces, NDRF and ODRF.
The injured passengers are being treated at Balasore Medical College and Hospital and other hospitals in nearby areas. The accident scene showed rescuers climbing up the mangled train wreck to find survivors. Rescuers pulled several out of the upturned train coaches. People lined up outside the hospitals to donate blood.
Additional fire service teams, doctors and ambulances are also being rushed from nearby districts. Meanwhile, the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered State mourning for a day today. He will reach the accident site this morning. Sources said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will likely visit the accident site on Saturday.
The first train incident occurred at about 7 pm yesterday when Shalimar-Howrah Coromandel Express derailed at Bahanaga station after colliding with a goods train. At the same time, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast train derailed after a few minutes at the same spot. Sources said as many as 15 to 17 coaches were damaged in the derailment. The railway authorities have controlled several trains at different stations in the wake of a mishap. Besides, the Railways cancelled and diverted certain trains following the incident.
Odisha Special Relief Commissioner’s office released an emergency control room number, 6782262286, for information and help relating to the mishap. Besides, the railways have released four helpline numbers: For Howrah – 03326382217, Kharagpur – 8972073925, 9332392339, Balasore – 8249591559, 7978418322, and Shalimar – 9903370746.