Nearly 300 killed and more than 900 injured in train crash in India

Authorities completed rescue operations and indicated that, according to a preliminary investigation, there was an error in the electronic signaling system.

A horrific accident caused by a multiple train collision left at least 275 people dead and 900 injured in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on Friday night.

Initial reports indicate that the accident appears to have been caused by the derailment of the cars of one passenger train, which ended up affecting a second and a third train (one carrying freight and another carrying passengers). Subsequent versions indicated that a failure in the electronic signaling system caused the incident.

This was stated by a senior railway official, Jaya Verma Sinha, in statements reported by AP. According to her, the Coromandel Express high-speed train received erroneous traffic signals, which led it to crash into a wagon loaded with iron ore.

That collision flipped the carriages of the high-speed vehicle onto another track, causing the incoming Yesvantpur Howrah Express to derail as well.

According to Jaya Verma Sinha, it is unknown whether the error is human or technical. Authorities are also not ruling out the possibility of sabotage.

Rescue operations

"We are only working [at] sending additional doctors, ambulances, buses, so all those things we are doing so we have not thought of asking what happened, how it happened," Odisha chief secretary Pradeep Jena said in the moments after the derailments occurred.

Rescue operations involved over a hundred ambulances and several units of firefighters, police, doctors and sniffer dogs. At one point, 288 fatalities were recorded and authorities believed there could be more, but the figure was later lowered.

"The operation will continue the entire night. We hope that the entire rescue and relief operation will be completed before morning," said Jena. Finally, the search for victims ended on Sunday, according to World Asia.

Accidents have become common in India because, despite having one of the world's largest train networks, the country's infrastructure is obsolete. In 2021 there were nearly 18,000 train accidents, resulting in the deaths of more than 16,000 people.