After one of the worst train accidents in India, more than a thousand people are constantly busy with the evacuation work. This was announced by the Indian Ministry of Railways on Twitter. Drone footage on local television on Sunday also showed excavators at work clearing the route – and with many wrecks and broken tracks, they show the staggering magnitude of the disaster that has killed at least 288 people and injured hundreds.
According to rescue workers on site, no more survivors are expected in and under the wrecks. The goal is to complete the clearance work by Wednesday, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Indian news agency ANI. At the same time, relatives tried to identify victims in various morgues, some of whom were very disfigured, as reported by the “Times of India”.
The accident happened on Friday evening in a rural area in the Balasore district, a good 200 kilometers southwest of Kolkata. According to the authorities, three trains were involved. Initial findings on the cause of the accident indicate a signal problem, as reported by local media, including “India Today”. The investigations are ongoing. According to local reports, a passenger train is said to have derailed first, and another passenger train is said to have crashed into its broken-down carriages. A freight train is said to have been involved.
The most populous country in the world with around 1.4 billion people has one of the largest railway networks in the world that has grown historically and in which the government has recently made significant investments. However, with many old trains and track systems in need of overhaul, accidents are common. But such high numbers of victims have become rare. The accident also rekindled a discussion about safety on the railway.
sympathy from all over the world
Politicians and heads of state expressed their condolences around the world, most recently including US President Joe Biden. “Jill and I are heartbroken after the tragic news of the fatal train accident in India,” said Biden on Saturday (local time), according to a statement from the White House in Washington, also on behalf of the First Lady. The President and his wife’s thoughts are with the people of India. According to his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “deeply saddened” by the accident. The Secretary-General offered condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people of India and their government, a statement from New York said.