At least 10 people were killed and several people were injured when a passenger train travelling from Visakhapatnam to Rayagada derailed after colliding with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train near Kothavalasa railway station in Vizianagaram district.
According to a report accessed by news agency PTI, the train should have stopped for two minutes at the defective auto signals and then started at 10 kmph which it didn’t do, leading to the collision.
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This was the third rail accident since June 2 when the Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary freight train in Odisha’s Balasore, leading to the loss of 296 lives and 1,200 suffered injuries. On October 11, five people died and 30 were injured when the Delhi-Ka makhya North East Express derailed in Bihar’s Buxar.
Sunday’s accident occurred when the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train was switching from the main track to a side track. Simultaneously, the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train, travelling on the main track, rear-ended the other train, leading to the derailment of the last three coaches upon impact and damaging two severely.
Vizianagaram SP Deepika Patil confirmed that “at least 10 persons were killed, and over 25 were seriously injured in the accident. Four coaches of the Rayagada passenger train were involved”. However, East Coast Railway’s Waltair division manager Saurabh Prasad said: “Three coaches were involved in the accident.”
As the coaches were “unreserved”, the details of the deceased passengers remain unknown. Officials fear that the toll may increase as some passengers may still be trapped inside the mangled coaches. Locals from nearby Kantakapalle village quickly initiated relief and rescue operations. They pulled out the trapped passengers and shifted the injured to hospitals.
However, the pitch-dark conditions hampered these efforts. Authorities deployed emergency lights to assist police, railway personnel and other officials in the rescue effort. NDRF and SDRF teams were mobilised and ambulances were dispatched from Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam to attend to the injured.