According to official figures, at least 233 people died in a serious train accident in India on Friday evening. Many more victims are suspected to be under the rubble. In addition, there are around 900 injured, said the top official in the state of Odisha, Pradeep Kumar Jena, according to the Indian news agencies ANI and PTI on Saturday night. According to the authorities, dozens of ambulances were on site. The rescue work took place in the dark. Railway officials said the Coromandel Express from Kolkata to Chennai collided with another passenger train, the Howrah Superfast Express, around 7pm local time in Odisha state. In the first media reports, there was talk of a collision between the Coromandel Express and a freight train.
Videos showed how helpers tried to rescue passengers from overturned wagons in the dark. “It’s a big accident and the number of casualties could rise significantly,” a senior official from Balasore district, a place close to the scene of the accident, told the newspaper Indian Express. “We have not yet started recovering the bodies because our priority at the moment is to get the injured to the hospital and get the treatment they need.”
An eyewitness told local television station NDTV that he saw human body parts everywhere. He woke up when his train derailed. “10 to 15 people fell on me. My hands and neck were injured,” said the eyewitness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Shaken by the Odisha train crash. At this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.” The prime minister’s office announced compensation for the relatives of the dead of 200,000 rupees each (about 2,267 euros). Injured should therefore get 50,000 rupees (567 euros) each. According to the government of the east Indian state, this is the worst railway accident in India for more than ten years.
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