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50 die in Odisha rail collision
Coromandel, Bengaluru-Howrah Express trains derail, hit goods train in Balasore
Bhubaneswar/Kolkata: At least 50 people died and 350 people were injured as a three-way accident involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, Coromandel Express and goods train on three separate tracks occurred at Bahanagar in Balasore district.
A railway official said several coaches of 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express travelling to Howrah, derailed at Bahanagabazar and fell on the up line. ''These derailed coaches collided with 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and its coaches capsized too,'' he said.
A goods train was also involved in the accident as the coaches of the Coromandel Express hit its wagons after getting derailed, the official said. The accident occurred at around 7 pm.
Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner Satyabrata Sahoo said 47 people have so far been admitted to Balasore Medical College and Hospital. Several people were trapped under the derailed coaches, and locals were assisting emergency services personnel to rescue them, but darkness was hindering the operation.
Odisha's Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena said 132 injured persons were admitted to Soro, Gopalpur and Khantapada health centres, while 47 people were admitted to Balasore Medical College and Hospital.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed Special Relief Secretary Satyabrata Sahoo and Revenue Minister Pramila Malik to rush to the accident site.
Accident relief trains have been dispatched to the spot, a South Eastern Railway official said.
Four units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), three units of NDRF and 60 ambulances were working to rescue the injured.
Odisha government has issued helpline 06782-262286. The railway helplines are 033-26382217 (Howrah), 8972073925 (Kharagpur), 8249591559 (Balasore) and 044- 25330952 (Chennai).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the accident, and spoke with Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to take stock of the situation. ''Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.