May 21, 2024

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India: Death toll in train accident rises to 288

India: Death toll in train accident rises to 288


The death toll in the train accident has risen to 288

The media reports that more people are suspected to be trapped in the wreckage of the deadly train accident in India.


288 killed and many injured in a horrific train accident in India (June 2, 2023).


  • 288 people have died in train accidents in India.

  • The Odisha train accident is one of the worst train accidents in decades.

  • More than 1000 people and about 100 ambulances and buses are in action.

Train accidents are common in India – but a disaster of this dimension was a complete exception there: several trains derailed in Balasore, and the number of victims quickly rose into triple figures. Eyewitnesses report horrific scenes.

Meanwhile, 288 deaths have already been counted, Odisha state fire chief Sudanshu Sarangi, who was stationed at the scene of the accident, told AFP news agency on Saturday. Also, around 900 people have been injured, Odisha state officials announced on Saturday morning. As more people are suspected to have died under the overturned wagons and the rescuers have to work in difficult conditions at night, the death toll is feared to rise further.

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The disaster occurred on Friday evening around 7 pm local time (3 p. CEST) in a rural area of ​​Balasore district, 200 kilometers southwest of Kolkata (formerly: Calcutta). Two passenger trains and a freight train collided back-to-back on two parallel sections of track. Exactly how, hours after the accident, is still unclear.

According to media reports, one of the two passenger trains derailed first, while the other rammed into wagons left on the tracks on a parallel track a few meters away. It was not clear which of the two trains derailed first, and for what reason — whether the freight train was actually on a different track at the time of the accident and whether it collided with one of the derailed passenger trains. Some media reports. Others gave different versions.

Deafening noise and chaos

As Saturday dawned, the extent of the devastation became even more apparent. About a dozen mangled cars lay beside the tracks, towering steel beams, roofs of some carriages torn off, windows broken. In and next to the wagons, dozens of helpers in civilian clothes and rescue workers in orange protective suits desperately tried to rescue injured passengers from under the heavy debris.

An eyewitness told local TV station NDTV that he was jolted out of his sleep when his train suddenly derailed – and chaos ensued. “10 to 15 people fell on me,” he told the broadcaster. He escaped with injuries to his neck and arms, but later found body parts mutilated everywhere.

“It was a deafening noise and I felt the ground shaking under my feet. Our train was thrown back and forth,” the Times of India newspaper quoted a passenger as saying. Then he looked out the window and saw the derailed wagons stuck underneath. “It was dark and I heard screams.” Another described how relatives later searched for their loved ones in a field littered with mutilated corpses. “The scene was indescribably terrible.”

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India’s decrepit railway system, with old trains and track systems in need of repair at many places, is known for frequent accidents. But even in a large country of 1.4 billion people, such high numbers of victims are rare.

Survivors receive 2,200 francs in compensation

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav told news agency ANI that an inquiry has been ordered into the cause of the train accident. He arrived at the scene of the accident on Saturday morning and learned about the extent of the tragedy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was shocked and wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the bereaved family at this time of grief.” Saturday was declared a day of mourning in Odisha.

Shortly after the accident, the Prime Minister’s Office announced compensation of 200,000 rupees (2,267 euros) each to the relatives of the dead. Hence Rs 50,000 should be given to each of the injured. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav promised a compensation of Rs 1 million to the families of the deceased. According to the reports, Rs 200,000 each should be given to those seriously injured and Rs 50,000 each to those with minor injuries.

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