Train crash in India kills 275

The Indian authorities reduced to 275 the death toll in the crash of three trains in the east of the country compared to 288 in the last balance, in which some of the bodies were counted twice due to the chaos unleashed in the worst rail accident in the world. 21st century in the Asian giant.

“After discarding the duplicates, the district chief has come up with a final figure of 275 and not 288,” Pradeep Jena, the secretary general of the eastern state of Odisha, where the incident took place last Friday, told the media.

“Yesterday, Railways said that finally the death toll was 288. Since last night, the district magistrate and his entire team have verified each and every corpse received (…) and discovered that some bodies had been counted two times,” Jena added.

The official pointed out that for the moment 88 bodies have been identified, while the authorities of the Asian country strive to facilitate the arrival of relatives to the area of ​​the event and to the capital of Odisha and use the Internet to publish photographs of the bodies that have not yet been recognized. .

Jena raised the number of injured in the accident to 1,175, and specified that almost 800 of these have received medical discharge. The Indian Railways, in its latest casualty balance, indicated that at least 56 were in serious condition.

The accident took place at 7:20 p.m. local time (1:50 p.m. GMT) on Friday in the Balasore district when a passenger train entered a track occupied by a second parked freight train, colliding and derailing. At that time, another passenger railway passing through the station collided with both, Indian Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said during a press briefing.

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Authorities announced compensation of more than $12,000 for those killed, about $2,500 for the seriously injured and $606 for those with minor injuries.

This is the worst rail accident to hit India in the 21st century, after the August 1999 crash of two trains in the northeastern state of West Bengal left 288 dead. Some 800 people died in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge and plunged into a river in the northern state of Bihar.

The Indian railway network is, with a length of 68,000 kilometers, the fourth in length in the world, behind the United States, Russia and China, it has some 21,650 trains and 7,349 stations throughout the country, and transports some 23 million passengers daily. passengers.

new derailment

The derailment of a train on Monday in the eastern state of Odisha, where the brutal rail accident that left 275 dead and more than a thousand injured last Friday underscores India’s shortcomings in terms of security, with derailments as the cause of 70% of claims.

Today’s accident left no victims and involved a freight train that ran off the tracks at a private factory, but adds to the long list of rail accidents in India, the country with the fourth largest network of the world by length.

These amounted to 2,017 incidents between April 2017 and March 2021, according to a recent report by the Auditor General (CAG) which identified derailment as the most common cause, being behind 70% of incidents.

The report analyzed the state of India’s railway network during those four years, after which it warned of the “declining funds to renew the tracks”, as well as the shortage of personnel and the high number of deficiencies reported by a large part of the railways. inspections.

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In said period, the CAG concluded that the main cause of the derailments was “maintenance of the track”, involved in 167 accidents, ahead of other reasons such as the “deviation of the track parameters beyond the permissible limits”, with 149 cases, and “bad driving or speeding”, with 144.

In addition, it quantified the cost of all accidents caused by trains leaving the tracks at 4 million dollars.

The proportion of derailments was slightly higher in the case of “consequential accidents”, which according to the CAG includes those incidents that caused deaths or injuries, damage to trains or interruptions to rail traffic.

In these types of accidents, lane departure was behind 163 of the 217 recorded incidents, approximately 75% of them.

These figures are much lower than those reported by the National Crime Records Agency of India (NCRB), which, in addition to this type of accident, takes into account other much more common incidents such as “passengers falling from trains” or the “collision of the machine with people on the road”.

Two events that constituted two thirds of the 16,431 deaths registered in the almost 18,000 accidents that occurred in 2021, the last year for which it has records.

The immense extension of the Indian railway network, 68,000 kilometers long, causes most of its sections to be completely open, favoring trains colliding with people who cross the track without paying attention or with animals.

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