Officials Say at Least 40 Killed, and over 50 injured after Train derails on the East Coast India. Sabotage angle not ruled out..
Kuneru (KNRT), Visakhapatnam Division/ECOR: Two general coaches and four sleeper bogies of Bhubaneswar-bound Train No.18448 Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed at Kuneru railway station between Rayagada-Vizianagram section of Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (about 30 km from Rayagada) in the Vizianagaram district on Saturday midnight. According to reports, at least 40 persons are feared dead and over 50 are injured as the train jumped the rails. Meanwhile, special relief van and medical teams have rushed to the spot to take up relief operations. Senior railway officials led by Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee, left for the spot immediately to supervise the relief operations.
Chief Public Relations Officer of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said the incident took place around 11 PM when the train was going to Bhubaneswar. He said, four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site. He said, the reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, Railway Ministry sources have told that the element of sabotage has not been ruled out yet.
The number of casualties are likely to go up as the train was running at high speed while crossing Kuneru station where it had no stoppage. The injured have been shifted to hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada. A team of doctors have reached the accident site. Vijayanagaram and Rayagada District Administration are taking active part in rescue operations. Several trains on Vijayanagaram and Rayagada routes have been diverted.
These are Rayagada 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071 and 07681878777. Help line nos at Vizianagaram are 08922-221202 and 08922-221206.
Indian Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena on Sunday said, that any unusual activity or tampering with the railway tracks leading to the derailment of the Hirakhand Express, will be investigated, and also informed that a unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been sent on the spot for rescue operation.
“Total 54 people have been injured, those with minor injuries have been sent after first aid. Efforts are on for rescue. One unit of National Disaster Response Force has reached the spot. The Up and down line between Vijayanagaram-Singhpur has been affected. The cause will be investigated from all angles. If there was any unusual activity, or tampering with track, it will be probed. Commissioner Railway Safety (Civil Aviation Ministry) will enquire into Hirakhand Express derailment and he will inspect site,” Saxena told.
Saxena further said their main aim is to make the people reach their destinations, adding that the unaffected portion of the train has been taken to Raigoda, from where it has been diverted to Bhubaneswar.
“Water containers, biscuits and teas are being supplied to the people. They can also talk to their families through phones which are made them available,” he added.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announces profound grief; announces Rs 2 lakh for kin of deceased towards immediate relief
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday while expressing deep shock and grief, announced rupees two lakh as compensation for the kin of deceased in the horrific Hirakhand express derailment in Andhra Pradesh last night, which claimed the lives of 40 people.
He also announced 25,000 rupees for the injured and 50,000 rupees for the seriously injured. At least 40 people were killed and more than 50 injured when coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh last night.
Prabhu, along with Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal, is rushing to the derailment site in Andhra.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring situation. He has directed senior officials to reach site and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations. Railway has issued helpline numbers.
Meanwhile, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik expresses grief over the tragic death Of 30 Passengers.
Commissioner, Railway Safety Of Civil Aviation Ministry To Probe Into Hirakhand Express Derailment, Says Anil Saxena, ADG, PR, Railway
Train Cancelled / Diverted Due to Derailment of Hirakhand Express
Meanwhile, South Central Railway announced cancellation/route-diversion of certain trains in view of the derailment of Train No. 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express at Kuneru between Rayagada-Vizianagram section of Waltair Division, East Coast Railway, the following more train is cancelled / diverted as detailed below:-
Trains Cancelled/Partially Cancelled on 22nd January, 2017:
- Train No.18518 Visakhapatnam- Korba Express Scheduled to depart Visakhapatnam On01.17 is Cancelled.
- Train No. 18309 Sambalpur-H.S.Nanded Nagavali Express scheduled to depart Sambalpur on 22nd January, 2017 is cancelled.
- Train No. 12651 Madurai-H.Nizamuddin Tamilnadu Sampartk Kranti Express scheduled to depart Madurai on 22nd January, 2017 is cancelled.
- Train No. 17615 Kacheguda-Madurai Weekly Express departed Kacheguda on 21st January, 2017 will be short terminated at Dindigul station.
- Train No. 57271 Vijayawada – Rayagada Passenger departed Vijayawada on 21st January, 2017 will be short terminated at Visakhapatnam station.
- Train No. 13352 Alleppey-Dhanbad scheduled which left Alleppey on 21.01.17 is diverted to run via Vizianagaram, Palasa, Angul, Sambalpur.
- Train No. 18310 H.S.Nanded-Sambalpur Nagavali Express departed H.S.Nanded on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Khurda Road and Angul stations.
- Train No. 12375 Chennai Central – Asansol Superfast Express departed Chennai Central on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Khurda Road, Angul and Jharsuguda stations.
- Train No. 18637 Hatia-Yesvantpur Express departed Hatia on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Titlagarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Balharshah stations.
- Train No. 13351 Dhanbad-Alappuzha Express departed Dhanbad on 21st January, 2017 is diverted via Titlagarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Balharshah stations.
‘Lucky enough to be alive’: Train survivors recall brush with death
Survivors of the Hirakhand Express mishap on Sunday recounted their horrific experience when the trains nine bogies and the engine jumped off the track near Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh.
“It was horrific and frightening. I was among the lucky ones to have escaped narrowly after the mishap that struck late last night,” said Ranjan Mohanty, a Baripada college
Mohanty, who was returning in the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express train after attending the wedding ceremony of a relative, said he was sleeping and woke up with a sudden jerk and deafening sound to find himself on the floor.
While the derailment claimed at least 39 lives, the passengers, Mohanty said, travelling in his coach escaped with minor injuries and fractures.
However, the adjacent S-9 coach was perhaps one of the worst affected, Mohanty said, adding he was among the survivors who were sent by a special train to Bhubaneswar via Sambalpur from where he would proceed to Baripada.
Similar was the experience of Prakash Sahu, a youth who failed to figure out as to what exactly had happened when a loud bang woke him up from deep sleep and he was flung from the berth.
Sahu said he along with some fellow passengers managed to move out of the coach with much difficulty and to comprehend what had happened.
“We are lucky enough to be alive though our belongings, mobile phones and other articles were lost,” he said.
For little girl Sai Suchitra, who suffered injuries and was taken to Rayagada hospital, it was a nightmare.
Suchitra said she was travelling with her mother and other family members when the train derailed. She was extremely worried about her mother and others as there was no information available about them immediately.
Bhagban Majhi, a youth who left with a fractured limb after the mishap, said it was pitch dark and he could only hear screams of injured passengers and wailing relatives who lost their dear ones.
It took some time for the rescue teams to reach the mishap site.
Another youth who travelled by the special train to Bhubaneswar via Sambalpur after the derailment said there was panic among the passengers and the whole area was filled with cries of accident victims.
“After we moved out of our coach, we could see the devastating effect of the derailment. Bodies could be seen in the severely mangled coaches,” he said, adding that passengers of unaffected bogies also tried to help those trapped in derailed coaches but darkness was a major hurdle before rescue teams arrived at the scene.
Among the survivors was a couple travelling to Bhubaneswar from Bhawanipatna to attend a marriage function.
Sanjay and his wife Jhili were about to sleep after dinner when there was loud sound and the bogie jolted violently and luggage of passengers fell scattered all around.
Those unhurt in the mishap made efforts to pull out the children and women, said Sanjay.
Railways deploy special buses for stranded passengers
With train movement paralysed between Rayagada and Vizianagaram, the Railways on Sunday deployed 13 special buses to transport stranded passengers to places such as Brahmapur and Bhawanipatna of Odisha, a railway spokesman said.
One passenger special train with 13 coaches carrying the stranded passengers of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarah Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express was run from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul.
The spokesman told The Hindu that nearly 600 passengers were shifted in the special passenger train and special buses.
Following the derailment of the train, the East Coast Railway announced cancellation of seven trains. Seven more trains were short terminated and 10 diverted.