Rescue workers gather around damaged carriages at the accident site of a three-train collision near Balasore, about 200 km (125 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar in the eastern state of Odisha, on June 3, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Howrah (West Bengal): Two survivors of the fatal train accident in Odisha’s Balasore, shared their horrific experience after they were brought to Howrah.

One of the survivors told ANI: “I have never seen such a horrific incident. I was going to Chennai from Bihar. I have not informed my family yet”.

“I was going to Chennai from Bihar. I was in S3. The compartment was derailed after the collision. We were safely rescued,” another survivor said.

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A woman from Malda district said that her son was killed in the accident.

“My son died in the Balasore train accident. He was going to Chennai. My son was 26 years old, and had two children,” she mourned.

Survivor Arjun Das told a Bengali television channel he heard a thundering sound, then saw people falling from upper berths.

He jumped out of the train. “People were screaming, shouting for help,” he said.

“There were injured lying everywhere inside coaches and along the tracks. I want to forget the scenes.”

Bodies of the victims. Image Credit: ANI

Researcher Anubhav Das was in the last carriage of the second train when he heard “screeching, horrifying sounds coming from a distance”.

His coach stayed upright and he jumped out unhurt after it ground to a halt.

“I saw bloodied scenes, mangled bodies and one man with a severed arm being desperately helped by his injured son,” the 27-year-old told AFP.

“I lost count of the bodies before leaving the site. I now feel almost guilty.”

The accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and the goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Balasore district.

Seventeen coaches of the passenger trains were derailed and severely damaged.

Rescue operation completed

he scale of tragedy was evident from the visuals of the accident site with some bogeys thrown wide off from the track, crushed or in mangled condition and belongings of passengers strewn around.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation. He will also visit the site of the accident in Balasore and then go to the hospital in Cuttack, sources said to review the situation.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also reached Balasore. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited the site of the tragedy.

Vaishnaw said a detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry.

He said rescue operation has been completed and restoration work has started.

Image Credit: AFP

“We will thoroughly investigate this incident and will ensure such incidents don’t happen in future,” he said.

The minister said it was a big tragic accident and added that the Railways, NDRF, SDRF, and state government were involved in the rescue operation.

A day of mourning

“Best possible healthcare facilities will be provided. Compensation was announced yesterday. A high-level committee has been formed to inquire about it,” he said.

The Odisha government has also declared one-day mourning.

The mangled carriages. Image Credit: AFP

Several NDRF teams, five ODRAF units and 24 Fire Services and Emergency Units are engaged in rescue operations.

Over 100 medical teams with paramedical staff along with medicines have been mobilized to the accident site for medical treatment, the statement said.

The South Eastern Railway has cancelled 33 trains and diverted 36 trains to other routes.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed Mi-17 helicopters for the evacuation of deceased and injured in the Odisha triple train accident. Army teams have been deployed to assist in the evacuation and treatment of injured citizens.