Shocking footage reveals extent of devastation after India train crash which left nearly 300 dead and 900 more injured – as survivors tell harrowing stories of world’s worst rail disaster in 20 years
- One man, Suryaveer, recognised his dead mother by the dress she was wearing
- The crash in Odisha, India, has killed at least 288 people and left 900 injured
Shocking footage has revealed the extent of the devastation after India‘s worst rail crash in 20 years which has nearly 300 dead and 900 more injured.
Aerial footage shows several derail carriages, some of which have overturned and are lying next to the track – as hundreds stand alongside.
Devastated villagers have told harrowing stories of the disaster. One man, Suryaveer, said he discovered his mother had died in the crash after he was sent an image and recognised the dress she was wearing.
It comes after a three-train collision on Friday night in Odisha, India, killed at least 288 people and left some 900 people hospitalised.
Tutu Biswas, who was on the train, said he saw ‘many people injured’ including a ‘small child’ who died shortly after crying for their parents.
The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers continue to wade through the wreckage to search for survivors and bodies.
Suryaveer told BBC News: ‘My mother and my grandmother were on the train. They were going to the city to buy medicines.
‘I found my granny a few hours after the accident. She was alive. But my mother was missing. We looked for her everywhere but couldn’t find her.
‘This morning I heard from one of my friends. They sent me a picture of a body – it was my mother. She was wearing the same dress.’
He added all he wanted was to take her body home safely but the area was engulfed in chaos with roads jammed.
Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, said the death toll stood at 288 but was expected to go higher, potentially approaching 380.
He said: ‘Many people who have been rushed to hospitals are succumbing there and we are still taking out the dead bodies.
‘The rescue work is still ongoing here as there are some bodies under the bogies and teams are trying to lift them to get them out.’
About 900 people were injured in the accident and the cause is still under investigation, according to P.K. Jena, the state’s top administrative official.
Witness Tutu Biswas also told BBC News: ‘We heard a loud sound. When we came out of the house, we saw that this accident had happened outside. I saw the goods train had climbed over on another train.
‘When I reached the spot, I saw that many people were injured, many people had died. A small child was crying whose parents had probably died. That child also died after a while. It was horrific.’
On Saturday, rescuers were seen cutting through the destroyed rail cars to find people who may still be trapped.
Mr Sarangi added it was possible that people were stuck underneath but it was unlikely they would still be alive.
Late Friday, hundreds were trapped inside more than a dozen wrecked carriages as rescuers worked to pull them out.
Mr Sarangi said: ‘By 10pm on Friday we were able to rescue the survivors. After that it was about picking up dead bodies. This is very, very tragic. I have never seen anything like this in my career.’
Ten to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto a nearby track, said Amitabh Sharma, a railroad ministry spokesman.
The debris was hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction, causing up to three coaches of the second train to also derail, he added.
A third train carrying freight was also involved, the Press Trust of India reported. PTI said some of the derailed passenger coaches hit cars from the freight train.
Up to 1,200 rescuers worked with 115 ambulances, 50 buses and 45 mobile health units through the night at the accident site, according to officials.
And Saturday was declared as a day of mourning in Odisha as the state’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, reached the district to meet injured passengers.
Villagers said they rushed to the site to evacuate people after hearing a loud sound created by the train coaches going off the tracks.
Survivor Rupam Banerjee told PTI: ‘The local people really went out on a limb to help us. They not only helped in pulling out people, but retrieved our luggage and got us water.’
Another passenger Vandana Kaleda said that inside the train during the derailment people were ‘falling on each other’ as her coach shook violently and veered off the tracks.
She said: ‘As I stepped out of the washroom, suddenly the train tilted. I lost my balance. Everything went topsy turvy.
‘People started falling on each other and I was shocked and could not understand what happened. My mind stopped working.’
Another survivor who did not give his name said he was sleeping when the impact woke him up. He said he saw other passengers with broken limbs and disfigured faces.
More than 12million people ride 14,000 trains across India every day, traveling on 40,000 miles of track.
Friday’s crash ranks as its third worst and deadliest since 1995, when two express trains collided in Firozabad, near Agra, killing more than 300 people.
The disaster comes despite new investments and upgrades in technology that have significantly improved railway safety in recent years.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his thoughts were with the bereaved families. He tweeted: ‘May the injured recover soon’.
India’s railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said a high-level probe would be carried out, as the political opposition criticized the government and called for Vaishnaw to resign.
Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents occur every year on India’s railways, the largest train network under one management in the world.