Odisha train tragedy: A recap of what has happened in 3 days

Written by on June 5, 2023

Three days after the three-train collision happened in Odisha’s Balasore, the revised toll in the tragedy now stands at 275. The Railways has sought a CBI inquiry into the train accident and rail minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the root cause of the accident had been identified as ‘change in electronic interlocking system’.

Close to three days after the three-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore district claimed 275 lives, the Railways ministry on Sunday sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into one of the deadliest railway tragedies in recent times. The Railways has ruled out driver error and system malfunctioning, indicating possible ‘sabotage’ and tampering of the electronic interlocking system.
After conducting a review of the restoration work at the site of the triple train collision in Balasore on Sunday, the railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the “root cause” of the accident and the “criminals” responsible for it have been identified.

On Friday evening, three trains collided one after another in a horrific sequence in Balasore district. The crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train occurred around 7 pm near the Bahanaga Bazar station, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar.

The horrific accident happened when the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, headed towards Chennai, derailed. It collided with a goods train on the adjacent track, causing the rear carriage of the Coromandel Express to veer off onto the third track. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, coming from the opposite direction on the third track, rammed into the derailed coaches.

Seventy-one coaches of two passenger trains were derailed and bloodied and disfigured bodies lay enmeshed with each other, creating a grotesque sight. Around 200 bodies so far remain unidentified. The NDRF, ODRAF, police, fire service units and volunteers raced against time to save survivors and the search and rescue operation continued for around 15 hours, after which the restoration work commenced.

The toll in the triple-train crash was revised on Sunday from 288 to 275 due to the double counting of some bodies, Odisha Chief Secretary PK Jena said.

Altogether, 260 people, who were injured in the triple train accident in Balasore, are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals across Odisha, while around 900 have been discharged so far, health department officials said on Sunday. The horrifying and disturbing visuals on social media showed piles of bodies and bloodbaths on railway tracks.

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