Death toll for India’s worst train crash in decades rises to at least 275

Death toll for India’s worst train crash in decades rises to at least 275
The Independent
Bryan Ke
June 5, 2023
Hundreds of people were reportedly killed after three trains crashed into each other in India last week, making the incident one of the worst crashes the country has seen in decades.
What happened: Two passenger trains — Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express — and a freight train were involved in a “three-way accident” near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, a city in the Indian state Odisha, at around 7 p.m. on Friday. The two trains were reportedly carrying around 2,000 passengers total at the time.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the Central Coromandel Express crashed into the parked freight train after being given a signal to enter the main line. The passenger train’s coach then flipped onto another track, causing a second passenger train to derail.
Operations Inspector General for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRP) Narendra Singh Bundela told reporters on Saturday that 17 coaches were derailed.
Latest death toll: Investigators initially reported that 288 people had died from the incident, with over 850 people reportedly injured. The Indian government lowered the death tally to 275 after Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena told reporters during a Sunday briefing that some of the bodies were counted twice.
Cause of accident: While a comprehensive inquiry is still underway, some investigators are reportedly looking at other possibilities as to why the crash occurred, such as human error and signal failure.
“No stone unturned”: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site of the crash on Saturday to pay his condolences to the victims’ families. He told reporters that the government “will leave no stone unturned for the treatment of those injured” and that those found guilty will be “severely punished.”
Background: Friday’s incident was one of the worst train accidents in India in recent decades. In 2016, around 146 people were reportedly killed when a passenger train was derailed in Uttar Pradesh.
Preceding that, at least 285 people died when two trains collided in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, in August 1999. India’s deadliest train derailment, known as the Bihar train disaster, occurred in June 1981 when around 800 people were killed.
 
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