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At least 280 persons were feared dead and more than 900 injured in a major rail accident involving two express trains and a goods train in Balasore district of Odisha on Friday evening.
The accident took place at around 7 p.m. when two coaches of 12864 (SMVB-HWH) Yashwantpur-Howrah Express derailed near Bahanaga Railway station in Balasore district. The derailed coaches tossed over to the adjoining track and hit the speeding 12841 Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction. It led to derailment of about 17 bogies.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced on Saturday that he has ordered a high-level probe into the derailment. "The accident was unfortunate, and the rescue operation began shortly after the incident was reported to his ministry," the minister said, as quoted by ANI. The railway ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs. 2 lakh to those severely injured, and Rs. 50,000 to those who sustained with minor injuries.
As eye-witnesses recounted the horror, Anubhav Das, a Twitter user, who claimed to be a passenger of the fateful Coromandel Express, put out a Twitter thread. "As a passenger on the Coromandel Express from Howrah to Chennai, I am extremely thankful to have escaped unscathed. It probably is the biggest train accident related incident...Not to exaggerate but I have myself witnessed more than 200-250 deaths. Families crushed away, limbless bodies and a bloodbath on the train tracks. It was a sight that I will never forget. God help the families. My condolences," Das tweeted.