A large number of people were feared killed and over 350 were injured in a collision involving the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, the Bangalore-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train on Friday evening in Balasore.
While doctors and officials said that at least 70 people had died, villagers who were the first to reach the site and start the rescue said the toll could be near 100. At least 50 bodies had been brought out, officials said.
The collision occurred around 7.15pm near Bahanaga, a small station barely 20km from Balasore railway station, in Odisha. The Coromandel Express had left Shalimar station at 3.20pm and was running fine till it crossed Balasore. Even till midnight, it was unclear how the collision occurred.
According to one version, several coaches of the 12864 Bangalore-Howrah train jumped rails and fell on the adjacent track. “These derailed coaches collided with 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too,” a senior official said. The derailed coaches of Coromandel Express hit a goods train, the official said.
But railway spokesman Amitabh Sharma told PTI Video that the Coromandel Express jumped rails first, and its coaches fell in the path of the Bangalore-Howrah train, derailing it. Over 350 people have been admitted to hospitals across the district, officials said. Teams of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force were leading the rescue operations, officials said.