The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and 12864 Yashwantpur-Howrah Super-Fast Express kills two hundred and eighty-eight and gravely injure nearly nine-hundred others in a collision, according to the latest reports. This horrific sequence of am accidents occurred a mere few hours ago in Balasore, Odisha, near the Bahanaga Baazar Station, where the Coromandel Express had derailed and approximately fifteen coaches fallen onto the adjacent tracks as it was going to Chennai from Howrah. Subsequently, the Yashwantpur-Howrah Super-Fast Express headed towards Howrah crashed into the derailed coaches in its path from the other side.
According to the Odisha Chief Secretary, Pradeep Jena, the accident also involved a third freight train. The precise number of casualties of one of the worst tragedies to strike India is yet to be determined, as efforts to free many who are presumably trapped under the debris are still in progress.
The massive rescue operations are supervised by the Chief of Odisha Fire Services, Sudhanshu Sarangi. Over one hundred National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and its state counterpart have been employed in efforts of rescuing and attending to those passengers still trapped after the collision, attempting to reach them by cutting through the debris. The rescue workers have been working throughout the night, using electric cutters and gas torches to cut through the debris and pull out survivors as well as the remains of the dead from the wreckage distorted and torn apart by the impact of the collision and stray parts of steel.
Around two hundred or so ambulances have been mobilized along with fifty bused and forty-five mobile health units for the immediate attention required through the course of these efforts alerting the hospitals and medical colleges in the vicinity in and around Balasore. However, the number of vehicles deployed was apparently not enough for the larger number of victims of the horrific event and many of the people were being taken to the hospital in any kind of vehicle available including a tractor.
The tragedy called for the deployment of the Indian Army as well as the Indian Air Force, their presence being an immense asset to the search and rescue operations. As per recent reports, around 1,200 personnel are employed in the operation including rescue teams mobilized for assistance from Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar.
Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, took to Twitter to address the horrifying occurrence, and stated that “in this hour grief [his] thoughts are with the bereaved families.” He also informed the public that he has spoken with Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Railway Minister, and ensured the people that “all possible assistance is being given to those affected.” Mamta Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal also took to Twitter and tweeted that she is personally monitoring the situation at hand with other senior officers and the Chief Secretary.
Revenue Minister Pramila Malik was present at the site upon direction from the Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik who also ordered a one-day state mourning on Saturday in respect for the triple-train wreck tragedy. Meanwhile, the Railway Minister reportedly spoke on the matter and says “Our focus now is rescue and relief operations.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced that the family members of the deceased are to receive Rupees Two Lakhs as compensation, and fifty-thousand would be awarded to the injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The following image depicts the help-line numbers by the Railway Ministry for the people affected in the accident:
LOCALS COME TO VICTIM’S AID
Those injured were rushed to hospitals and are currently undergoing treatment since last night at various hospitals in the vicinity. The locals of Balasore have been actively participating and lending a hand in the rescue and relief operations to the best of their individual capabilities. The Balasore Medical College witnessed the gathering of more than two thousand people who came in the dead of the night to aid with the care of the injured, many even donated blood to help save them.
Chief Secretary tweeted regarding the valiant efforts of the locals to help the victims in their hour of need as fellow citizens and stated that overnight a total of “five hundred units of blood” was donated and currently the hospital had a stock of “nine hundred units.” Rupam Banerjee, one of the passengers that experienced the accident reported that the locals were extremely helpful and “went out on a limb” to help out the victims, apparently “They not only helped in pulling out people” but also went as far as to help them retrieve their personal belongings from the wreckage and gave them water.