Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derails: At least 36 killed, over 50 injured; railways suspect sabotage
At least 36 people were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express jumped the tracks in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district overnight with the railways suspecting sabotage behind the derailment, the third in as many months.
The East Coast Railway put the death toll at 36 with the casualties expected to rise as many bodies were feared trapped in the mangled coaches of the train which derailed around 11 PM last night when it was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur.
“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,” said Chief PRO of East Coast Railway J P Mishra.
Meanwhile, Odisha Police ruled out involvement of Maoists in the derailment of the Hirakhand Express in which the railways are suspecting sabotage.
“There is no indication of Maoist hand behind the derailment of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express,” Odisha DGP K B Singh told reporters after attending a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The injured have been shifted to 2 hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada.
A team of doctors has reached the accident site. District administration of both Vijayanagaram and Rayagada are taking active part in rescue operations, said Mishra.
The train had 22 coaches. Services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with several trains diverted.
Meanhwile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express. The tragedy is saddening. 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,” PMO tweeted.