23 killed as Hirakhand Express derails in Andhra (Third Lead)

Vizianagaram (Andhra Pradesh), Jan 22 (IANS) At least 23 people were killed and 50 others were injured as seven coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late Saturday night, officials said.

The incident took place around 11.30 p.m. when the train was going from Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) to Odisha capital Bhubaneswar.

“Seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station.

“Besides the engine, the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, one AC three tier coach and an AC two tier coach derailed,” Chief PRO of East Cost Railway J.P. Mishra said.

“Four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site. The reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained,” the official said. Army has also been deployed to carry out rescue operations.

An official of East Cost Railway said one mobile train reached the accident site. The injured were shifted to hospitals nearby.

The rescue and relief operations were underway.

As there was complete darkness at the accident site, it took time for authorities to launch rescue and relief operations.

“All rescue and relief apparatus mobilised immediately,” Ministry of railways tweeted.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation. He directed senior officials to reach to the site immediately, ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.

Railway officials from nearby stations rushed to the site to monitor rescue operations.

The train had departed from Jagdalpur at 3 p.m. on Saturday and was scheduled to reach Bhubaneswar at 8.25 a.m. on Sunday.

The train ran off the track minutes after it entered Andhra Pradesh from Odisha

The train passes through part of north coastal Andhra before re-entering Odisha.

In November 2016, 149 people died after 14 coaches of the Patna-Indore Express derailed near Pukhraya station in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district.

In December 2016, over 60 passengers were injured, some seriously, when 15 coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed near Kanpur.

Railways have set up helplines at various stations in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to provide information about the accident.

The numbers for Vizianagaram are: 83331, 83332, 83333, 83334, 08922-221202, 08922-221206

Visakhapatnam: 83003, 83005, 83006, 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330, 08500358610, 08500358712

Rayagada: 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777

Khurda: 0674 2490670.

Bhubaneswar station: 06742543360.

Behrampur station: 06802229632.

–IANS

aks/lok

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