Hundreds dead and hundreds more injured in three-train accident and derailment in India

June 3, 2023
Ben Marquis

India is in mourning following a tragic accident involving two packed passenger trains that left hundreds dead and hundreds more wounded and/or trapped in the debris and wreckage of the derailed cars, according to the Daily Caller.

The deadly incident occurred Friday in India's Odisha state and involved one passenger train derailing onto a second parallel set of tracks followed by a second passenger train on the other tracks hitting that wreckage and also derailing.

The tragic accident involved three trains

According to the BBC, as of Saturday afternoon, authorities revealed that at least 261 people were dead and more than 1,000 others injured following an accident that actually involved three separate trains.

The incident began when a fully-loaded Coromandel Express passenger train headed southeast from Kolkata to Chennai struck a stationary freight train on the same tracks and derailed, with some of the overturned cars ending up on a parallel set of tracks.

Shortly after that, a fully-loaded Howrah Superfast Express passenger train headed in the opposite direction on those parallel tracks hit the wreckage from the first passenger train and also derailed, resulting in "several" of the derailed cars being "crushed and mangled," according to a top disaster response official.

Per a top Odisha state official, more than 200 ambulances and hundreds of doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel were quickly dispatched to the scene, where they were aided by an unknown number of local villagers from the area who also rapidly responded and were already there helping to free hundreds of people trapped inside the wreckage and recover the hundreds of dead and wounded victims.

Prime Minister Modi personally on the scene

According to the BBC, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally visited the site of the accident on Saturday alongside Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

On Friday, right after the incident occurred, Modi tweeted, "Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon."

"Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," the prime minister added.

The outlet noted that this appears to be the worst and most deadly train accident in India in at least 20 years, and though an investigation into the cause is currently underway, unspecified "technical reasons" were initially blamed for the collision and derailment.

Extensive but outdated rail system with history of fatal accidents

The Associated Press reported that India is home to the world's largest network of trains under one system of management that features around 40,000 miles of track and around 14,000 trains that carry an estimated 12 million passengers on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, despite incessant efforts by the government to improve rail safety, the country still suffers hundreds of accidents and derailments every year, largely due to outdated equipment, crumbling infrastructure, and human error.

Among some of the most deadly train accidents in India's history, per the BBC, is a derailment in 2016 that killed almost 150 people, a collision between two trains in 1999 that left more than 285 dead, and another collision of two trains in 1995 that resulted in the deaths of more than 350 people.

The worst-ever train derailment incident in India, by far, occurred in 1981 when a cyclone storm pushed an overloaded passenger train off the tracks and into a river and ended up with around 800 fatalities.

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