At least 13 people died and over 50 others were injured when two passenger trains collided in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district on Sunday, officials said citing local police. The Railways identified the two trains involved as the 08532 Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger and the 08504 Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger special.
The latter rammed into the Palasa-bound train around 7pm, a statement said, citing human error as a possible cause with the Rayagada-bound train having likely jumped the signal.
Sourabh Prasad, divisional railway manager of the Waltair division, said the collision took place at roughly 7:10 pm. “The Vishakhapatnam-Palasa train was waiting on the track between Alamanda and Kantakpalli railway stations of the Kothavalasa block when the collision took place.”
The accident caused four bogies of the second train to derail onto the adjacent track. The crash knocked out electric lines, throwing the area into pitch darkness that hampered rescue operations. “Soon after we came to know about the incident, the local police, National Disaster Response Force teams and revenue authorities rushed to the spot to take up rescue and relief operations,” the DRM said.
Videos and photos shared by the public at the site showed multiple mangled coaches in what appeared to be pitch dark conditions.
The railways announced it had cancelled, diverted or terminated at least 13 trains since the tracks were blocked.
According to railway officials, both trains had 14 coaches each.
Sunday’s incident is the most serious train accident since June 2, when 296 people died after the Coromandel Express rear-ended a parked freight train in Odisha’s Balasore district, and a third train, Yesvantpur express, then colliding with some of the coaches that had derailed onto its path.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has chargesheeted three railway staffers for the June accident, which was the deadliest in decades.The fault allegedly lay with a signalling malfunction that sent the Coromandel on a collision course with the parked iron ore train.
Earlier this month on October 12, five people were killed and at least thirty people injured after 23 coaches of the North East Express derailed near Raghunathpur station in Bihar’s Buxar.
On Sunday night, Vizianagaram district collector S Nagalakshmi said rescue teams were rushed within minutes of the accident being reported. “A control room has been set up in the Collector’s Office with toll-free number 9493589157,” she said, adding that a railway helpline with number 8978080006 was also available for making enquiries and that eight ambulances had been pressed into service.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the incident and said he had instructed district authorities to implement urgent relief measures. Ambulances from neighbouring districts of Vishakhapatnam and Anakapalli will be pressed into service, Reddy added.
Source: Hindustan Times