Death toll increased to 36 and more than 100 seriously injured in the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailment in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district. Sabotage angle is not ruled out in the derailment, said Railway Ministry sources.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal was on the derailment site in Andhra Pradesh.
The impact was severe particularly in compartments S8 and S9 of the train which fell on a goods train passing by on the parallel track. The incident occurred around 11.20 pm, while the train was passing by Kuneru railway station. Apart from the engine, seven coaches – comprising the luggage van, two general compartments, two sleeper coaches, an AC three-tier coach and an AC two-tier coach – were derailed. While four coaches fell on an adjacent goods train, two sleeper coaches (S-8 and S-9) and a general coach were completely crushed.
Additional Divisional Railway Manager Ajay Arora said so far 36 deaths have been confirmed in the mishap that took place on Saturday night.
He said railway officials have identified 18 bodies and process was on to identify the remaining.
“The rescue operation is almost over,” said JP Mishra, chief public relations officer for the East Coast Railway. “Our first priority is to take care of the injured passengers, and provide them with proper treatment by shifting them to hospitals. We are also searching all the coaches to make sure nobody is still trapped.”
Services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with at least 3 trains cancelled and 8 others diverted.
13 unaffected coaches including luggage-cum-guard van left for Rayagada and they will proceed to Bhubaneswar via Sambhalpur-Angul route. If necessary, extra coaches will be added at Rayagada, Mishra said.
A total of 15 buses are being arranged to take the stranded passengers to their respective destinations.
Over 10 ambulances have been deployed to take the injured to hospital. At Parvatipuram govt hospital, 22 injured people were taken for treatment from where 7 were referred to Visakhapatnam. 32 were taken to Rayagada district hospital, Mishra said.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, on Sunday, has announced ex gratia sum of Rs 2 lakh for kin of deceased people, 25,000 for injured and 50,000 for seriously injured in Hirakhand express derailment incident.
“Total accident patients attended to at Rayagada dist hosp =32, Trivial injuries = 13, grievous injuries=4, simple injuries=15,” the East Coast Railway tweeted.