A tragic train collision in India’s Odisha state has left 288 people dead, with more than 80 bodies still unclaimed five days after the incident. The accident, which involved two passenger trains and a stationary goods train, is the country’s worst rail disaster this century. Over 1,000 injured individuals were taken to hospitals for treatment, and many families are still searching for their loved ones.
The passenger train derailed after mistakenly entering a loop track beside the main line, colliding with a stationary goods train. The derailed carriages then struck the rear coaches of another passenger train travelling in the opposite direction. It is estimated that more than 3,000 passengers were on board the two trains at the time of the accident.
Family members from Odisha and other states have been crowding hospitals, seeking information about their missing relatives. However, in some cases, identifying the bodies has proven to be a challenging task. DNA testing is being conducted in cases where more than one family has claimed a body, and unidentified bodies will be kept at the hospital morgue for the next ten days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the crash site over the weekend, promising that anyone found guilty would face severe punishment. Rescue work was completed on Saturday, and train traffic has already been restored on one of the lines. Officials stated that the remaining lines would be reopened by Wednesday.
India has one of the largest train networks in the world, with over 12,000 passenger trains running daily. These trains are used by several billion passengers annually to travel across the country. However, much of the railway infrastructure is in need of improvement. Trains are typically packed at this time of year, with increasing numbers of people travelling during school holidays.
The most devastating train disaster in India occurred in 1981 when an overcrowded passenger train was blown off the tracks and into a river during a cyclone in Bihar state, resulting in approximately 800 deaths.
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