New Delhi According to new information, at least 207 people died in the serious train accident in the Indian state of Odisha. In addition, there are around 900 injured, said Odisha’s head of administration Pradeep Kumar Jena, according to the Indian news agencies ANI and PTI on Saturday night.
Since victims are suspected to be under the overturned wagons and the salvage work was made even more difficult after nightfall, the number is expected to continue to rise. But it is already clear that this is one of the worst train accidents in recent decades. Rail accidents are common in India, but fatalities this high are rare even in the country of 1.4 billion people.
The accident happened on Friday evening around 7 p.m. local time (3 p.m. CEST) in the Balasore district. The course of events was still unclear hours after the accident, and the situation at the scene of the accident remained confusing. According to previous knowledge, two passenger trains and a freight train derailed there. Footage from the scene of the accident showed helpers on and next to the overturned train carriages desperately trying to rescue injured passengers under the tons of rubble.
An eyewitness told local television station NDTV that he saw severed human body parts everywhere. He was woken up when his train derailed – and chaos broke out. “10 to 15 people fell on me,” he told the broadcaster. He escaped with injuries to his neck and hands.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told ANI news agency that he had ordered an investigation into the cause of the train crash. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was shocked and wrote on Twitter: “At this hour of sadness, my thoughts are with the grieving families.”
Shortly after the accident, the prime minister’s office announced compensation for the relatives of the dead of 200,000 rupees (2,267 euros) each. Injured should therefore each get 50,000 rupees. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also pledged Rs 1 million in compensation for the families of the dead. According to the information, seriously injured people should receive 200,000 rupees each and slightly injured people 50,000 rupees each.
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