Odisha train accident: Death toll rises to 261, restoration work underway

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The death toll from a three-train crash in Odisha’s Balasore reached 261, South Eastern Railways said on Saturday.

Injured passengers have been taken to hospitals of Gopalpur, Khantapara, Balasore, Bhadrak and Soro in the State. As per the officials, over 900 were injured in the incident.

Railway officials said that the rescue operation has been completed at the derailment site and restoration work is going on.

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw is himself overseeing restoration work.

Chairman, Railway Board is at the Cuttack hospital and DG-Health, Railway Board is at Balasore Hospital, monitoring the treatment of injured passengers, railway officials said.

Principal Chief Medical Director and General Manager of the South Eastern Railway are also looking after the injured passengers at other hospitals. Member Infrastructure, Railway Board is overseeing the restoration work at the derailment site, the official statement added.

The accident involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in the State’s Balasore district.

According to a preliminary report released today by the State Emergency Operation Centre of Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner in Bhubaneswar the accident took place at around 7 am on Friday.

17 coaches of these two trains have been de-railed and severely damaged, the report said adding that all injured and trapped passengers have been rescued.

Seven NDRF teams, 5 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units and 24 Fire Services and Emergency Units are engaged in rescue operations.

Over 100 medical teams with paramedical staff along with medicines have been mobilized to the accident site for medical treatment, the statement said.

Over 200 ambulances were engaged in moving the injured to hospitals in Soro, Balasore, Bhadrak and Cuttack.

30 buses have been engaged for moving stranded passengers. The Odisha government is providing free transport facilities for stranded passengers of Odisha and West Bengal to their destinations.

Free medical treatments are being provided to injured persons at government and private hospitals in the State.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the site of the accident and reviewed the situation.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also visited the accident site today and took stock of the situation. On June 2 evening, he reviewed the situation with Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner, 5T Secretary, Secretary Transport and Secretary I &PR and other Senior Officers in in the office of Special Relief Commissioner, Rajiv Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.

Odisha Chief Secretary also discussed with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, through virtual mode on the situation, according to the Office of the Special Relief Commissioner, Odisha.

Odisha has declared a day of mourning for today.

The South Eastern Railway has cancelled 33 trains and diverted 36 trains to other routes. (ANI) 

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