After the train accident in India – one of the worst in the country’s railway history – more than a thousand people are constantly busy with the clean-up work. Drone recordings on Indian television also show excavators working to clear the route – and with the many wrecks and broken tracks, they show the staggering extent of the disaster, in which at least 288 people died and hundreds were injured, according to the authorities. According to rescue workers on site, no more survivors are expected in and under the derailed wagons.
Problems with the signal system
The goal is to complete the clearance work by Wednesday, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Indian news agency ANI. The accident happened on Friday evening in a rural area in the Balasore district, a good 200 kilometers southwest of Kolkata. According to the authorities, three trains were involved. Initial findings on the cause of the accident indicate a signal problem, as reported by the Indian media, citing the Minister of Railways.
However, investigations into this are ongoing. A final clarification is still pending. According to the media, a passenger train is said to have derailed first, and another passenger train is said to have crashed into its broken-down wagons. A freight train is said to have been involved.
India’s rail network is huge
The world’s most populous country, which is now home to around 1.4 billion people, has a railway network that has grown over time. It is one of the largest in the world in which the government has recently invested significantly. But with many old trains and track systems in need of overhaul, rail accidents are common in India. However, such high casualty figures as in the Balasore collision have become rare. The accident also rekindled a discussion about safety on the Indian railways.
Politicians and heads of state around the world, including US President Joe Biden, expressed their condolences. “Jill and I are heartbroken at the tragic news of the fatal train crash in India.” The President and his wife’s thoughts are with the people of India.
According to his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “deeply saddened” by the accident. According to a statement from New York, the Secretary-General offers his condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people of India and their government.
haz/AR (dpa, afp)