‘Friday night tragedy’ Abi Kyu-hwan…”I heard thunder and people fell”

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“The railway tracks were a sea of blood, the scene will never be forgotten.”

These were the words posted on Twitter by Anubhav Das메이저놀이터, who described himself as a survivor of the train crash in Balasore district of Odisha state in eastern India on 2 February afternoon (local time).

“Nearly 13 coaches of this passenger train were completely broken after the collision,” Das said, adding that he was travelling on the Coromandel Express from Shalimar in the northeast to Chennai in the south at the time of the accident.

“There were also limbless bodies on the tracks,” he said, adding, “I am very thankful that I escaped unhurt.”

Earlier in the day in Balasore, the Coromandel Express, another passenger train, the Howrah Superfast Express, and a freight train collided in quick succession, according to Indian media.

It is believed that one of the passenger trains derailed and fell onto an adjacent track, which then collided with the other passenger and freight trains.

Photos and videos from the scene of the crash show that the train was heavily distorted and lying on the tracks, with some carriages crumpled into unrecognisable pieces of paper.

The scene of a train accident in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on 2 February.
[EPA Yonhap photo. Resale and DB prohibited].

Thousands of passengers on both trains were caught defenceless and in the shock of the collision.

Survivor Arjun Das told AFP he heard a thunderous sound and then saw people falling from the upper berths.

Other survivors said passengers were screaming and wailing for help as the train jolted.

A survivor involved in the rescue operation said the scene was very chaotic with screams and wails from the injured and bereaved.

“When I came out of the toilet, the carriage suddenly tilted and lost its centre,” passenger Bandana Kareda told the Associated Press. “There was a jumble all around and people were falling on each other.”

“The impact of the derailment and the crash threw about 50 passengers out through broken windows or doors,” the Times of India reported.

“When I woke up to the derailment, 10 to 15 people fell on top of me and I injured my hands and neck,” another survivor told NDTV.

“When I came out of the carriage, (people’s) limbs were scattered all over the place,” he said, adding that one person’s face was badly disfigured.

Authorities have sent more than 200 support vehicles, including ambulances and fire trucks, and military helicopters to the scene for rescue efforts. More than 1,200 people from the National Disaster Response Force and the military were also mobilised.

Despite the severe damage to some of the carriages, the authorities managed to rescue all those trapped in the carriages and recover the bodies by noon on the 3rd, NDTV reported.

Hundreds of neighbouring residents also rushed to the scene and assisted in pulling people out of the carriages and provided water to the injured.

At least 288 people had been killed in the accident so far this morning, AFP reported, citing fire officials.

Reuters and NDTV put the death toll at a lower 261, citing railway officials. The number of injured is estimated to be between 650 and 900.

Authorities have also launched an investigation into the exact cause of the accident, including a technical fault.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families after the accident and will reportedly visit the accident site and hospital today.

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