As rows of bodies lay in two schools, the death count shot up to 244 on Saturday in one of the deadliest train accidents in India at Bahanaga in Odisha’s Balasore district.
While Odisha Chief Secretary P K Jena in a tweet put the toll in Friday’s ghastly accident at 233 and the number of injured at around 900, Balasore Collector D B Shinde said so far 244 bodies have been retrieved from the accident site, which is about 200 kilometers away from this state capital.
Railway. Minister Aswani Vaishnaw on Saturday morning arrived at ground zero at Bahanaga station and reviewed the situation with senior railway officials, NDRF and ODRAF teams. Railway Board Chairman Anil Kumar Lahoti was also present at the spot The Railway Minister has already ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident.
As per the latest report, over 900 passengers have been rescued and admitted to different hospitals.
The casualty figure is likely to rise as one general bogie is half-buried in the accident site, and efforts were on to retrieve bodies from it, sources said.
The bodies extricated from the coaches have been kept in two schools in Bahanaga. The corpses would be taken to local hospitals for post-mortem.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a state mourning on Saturday. No state celebration would take place throughout the day.
Patnaik and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are scheduled to reach the accident site on Saturday morning.
A technical team of the Railway made an aerial survey of the accident site early in the morning.
The Chief Secretary said three trains were involved in the accident. – Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel express , Yeshawantpur -Howrah express and a goods train.
As many as 15 coaches and one engine got derailed or capsized in the mishap at around 7 PM. Sources said after a collision with a goods train, ten coaches of the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express capsized, while another coach and the engine derailed and fell on the opposite track. After some time, the Howrah-bound Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Express dashed into those derailed coaches. As a result, two GS coaches and two bogies of that train also derailed and capsized,