In a tragic incident late last night, around 10-12 coaches of the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express derailed near Balasore in Odisha, falling onto an adjacent track and obstructing the path of another train. The collision occurred between the Coromandel Express and a freight train, resulting in a devastating accident. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw arrived at the accident site in Balasore on Saturday to assess the situation and assure the public that a detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted.
— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2023
Vaishnaw stated, “A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted, and the rail safety commissioner will also conduct an independent investigation.” He emphasized that the immediate focus is on rescue and relief operations, and restoration efforts will commence once clearance is obtained from the district administration.
According to Odisha’s Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena, the collision has tragically claimed the lives of at least 233 people, with around 900 injured. Vaishnaw expressed his deep sorrow over the incident, referring to it as a “big tragic accident.” He acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the Railway, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and the state government in carrying out the rescue operation and assured that the best possible healthcare facilities will be provided to the affected individuals.
The Railway Minister also mentioned that compensation has been announced for the victims, and a high-level committee has been established to investigate the incident thoroughly. Early in the morning, Vaishnaw personally visited the accident site in Balasore to assess the ongoing search and rescue operation.
In response to the derailment, Vaishnaw promptly ordered a high-level probe into the incident. Union Minister of Education and Skill Development, Dharmendra Pradhan, also cut short his visit to Kolkata and rushed to Balasore to oversee the situation. The Odisha government has declared a day of mourning in light of the train accident.
As a consequence of the tragedy, the flagging-off ceremony of the Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express by Konkan Railway officials has been canceled. The focus remains on the ongoing rescue efforts and providing support to the affected passengers and their families.
The derailment occurred near Bahanaga station in Balasore, causing significant disruption to train services. Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma explained that the incident took place at approximately 7 pm on Friday. The derailed coaches of the Coromandel Express obstructed the opposite track, leading to a subsequent collision with another train from Yeswanthpur to Howrah and resulting in the derailment of additional coaches.
As the investigation progresses, authorities are committed to uncovering the causes of the accident and taking appropriate measures to prevent such incidents in the future. The safety and well-being of passengers remain of paramount importance to ensure a secure and reliable railway network.