Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derails leaves 40 dead, probe ordered

Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derails leaves 40 dead, probe ordered

Visakhapatnam, Jan 23: At least 40 people were killed and 100 others injured when Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express, hurtling through the pitch dark, derailed near Kuneru Railway Station in Komarada Mandal of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh around 2330 hrs last night, East Coast Railways officials confirmed here.Tthe Hirakhand Express, plying from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh to Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, derailed near Kuneru railway station in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizinagaram district late on Saturday night.

The incident occurred around 11.30 pm, while the train was passing by Kuneru railway station. Apart from the engine, seven coaches – comprising the luggage van, two general compartments, two sleeper coaches, an AC three-tier coach and an AC two-tier coach – were derailed. While four coaches fell on an adjacent goods train, two sleeper coaches (S-8 and S-9) and a general coach were completely crushed under the impact of the accident.

“There would have been more casualties if the goods train hadn’t bore the brunt of the derailment,” a railway official told mediapersons. The train had 22 coaches.

Waltair divisional railway manager Chandralekha Mukherjee left for the accident spot along with relief teams in a special train from Visakhapatnam. Four ambulances were being used to take the injured to hospitals. “The reason for the accident is yet to be ascertained,” said Mukherjee.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu expressed grief over the incident, and announced monetary compensation of Rs 2 lakh for relatives of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured, and 25,000 for those with non-fatal injuries.