At least 54 people were injured but officials said the number could go up since a number of people were feared trapped in the wreckage. (Representative image) Photograph:( AFP )
At least 39 people were killed and 54 injured as the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. The derailment happened at 11 pm Saturday as the train was on its way to the Odisha capital Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
"Seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station. Besides the engine, the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, one AC three tier coach and an AC two-tier coach derailed," Chief PRO of East Coast Railway J P Mishra told PTI.
Four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site, the railway official added.
The reason behind the incident is not clear. Meanwhile, railway ministry sources have told ANI that the element of sabotage has not been ruled out yet.
Earlier, the Rayagada sub-collector Muralidhar Swain had said that the number of injured could be around 100. The casualty figure could go up as many people are trapped, he added.
The injured have been shifted to two hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for those who have been severely injured and Rs 25,000 for injured. The railway minister, along with Railway Board chairman A K Mittal, are rushing to the spot in Andhra Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the train mishap. "I pray for a speedy recovery of all those injured due to the train accident. The Railway Ministry is monitoring the situation very closely and is working to ensure quick rescue and relief operations," the Prime Minister`s Office said in a series of tweets.
The home minister of India, Rajnath Singh, said that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have reached the spot to conduct rescue operations.
"One NDRF team from Visakhapatnam is present at the derailment site in Andhra and four teams from Bhubaneswar are en route for rescue operations," he tweeted.
Services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with several trains diverted.
3/Help line nos at Vizianagaram , RLY NO. 83331, 83332, 83333, 83334 BSNL LAND LINE: 08922-221202, 08922-221206— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) January 21, 2017
2/Helpline nos at Rayagada:BSNL LAND LINE NO.06856-223400, 06856-223500 BSNL MOBILES 09439741181, 09439741071, AIRTEL 07681878777— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) January 21, 2017
8/Helpline numbers at khurda control: 0674 2490670. Bhubaneswar station: 06742543360.Behrampur station:06802229632— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) January 21, 2017
(WION with input from agencies)