288 dead and 900 others injured as three trains collide in India leading to world’s deadliest train disaster in 20 years

No fewer than 288 people have died with 900 injured after three trains collided leading to the world’s deadliest train disaster in two decades.

The horrific incident occurred on late Friday evening, June 2, 2023, in India’s eastern Odisha state.

According to officials, one passenger train derailed and its coaches fell on to the adjacent track where they were struck by an incoming train on Friday evening. A freight train was stationary.

Officials said several carriages from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed at about 7:00 pm in Balasore district, hit a stationary goods train and several of its coaches ended up on the opposite track.

Another train – the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah – then hit the overturned carriages.

“The force with which the trains collided has resulted in several coaches being crushed and mangled,” Atul Karwal, chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told news agency ANI.

It was the third deadliest crash in the history of Indian railways, he said.

More than 200 ambulances and hundreds of doctors, nurses and rescue personnel were sent to the scene, the state’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena said.

Sudhanshu Sarangi, director general of Odisha Fire Services, had earlier said` 288 had died.

The rescue operation recovering people from the wreckage has finished and work to restore the site of the crash begun, India’s South Eastern Railway company said on Saturday.

India is no stranger to railway accidents and has seen several disasters, the worst of them in 1981, when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar and plunged into the river below, killing between 800 and 1,000 people.

But Friday’s crash is believed to be the worst since the 1990s.

India’s deadly train crashes

June 1981: Nearly 800 people died when seven of the nine coaches of an overcrowded train fell into a river during a cyclone.

August 1995: At least 350 people are killed when two trains collide 200km (125 miles) from Delhi.

August 1999: Two trains collide near Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) killing at least 285 people.

October 2005: 77 people are killed when a train derails in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

November 2016: Nearly 150 people are killed and an equal number are injured when 14 carriages of the Indore-Patna Express train derail near the city of Kanpur.

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