23 Dead, 60 Injured as Utkal Express Derails in UP's Muzaffarnagar
The damaged coaches were S1 to S10 sleeper class, third AC B1, second AC A1 coach and the pantry. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.
A photo of the derailed train in Muzaffarnagar. (CNN-News18)
Khatauli (UP): At least 23 passengers lost their lives and over 60 sustained injuries on Saturday evening when 14 coaches of the Utkal Express, which runs on the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga route, derailed at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Several travellers are still feared trapped in the wreckage.
Helpline numbers issued by the Indian Railways:
Delhi -- 01123962389/ 01123967332
New Delhi -- 01123342954/ 01123341074
Nizamuddin - - 01124239748
Ghaziabad -- 09412715210
Muzaffarnagar -- 0131-2433099
Moradabad -- 05912420324
Roorkee -- 09760534056
Haridwar -- 09760534054/ 01334227477/ 01334227479/ 01334227480
The images showed a number of mangled bogies, one of which crashed into a nearby house. The damaged coaches were S1 to S10 sleeper class, third AC B1, second AC A1 coach and the pantry. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.
The incident occurred at around 5:50 in the evening. The locals were the first to reach the spot and extricate trapped passengers from the train. Heavyweight cranes and gas cutters were being used and locals were seen helping out those engaged in rescue work.
The National Disaster Response Force and Uttar Pradesh's Anti-terror Squad (ATS) rushed to the accident site. The ATS suspects foul play. Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said that top priority was being accorded to ensure prompt rescue and relief work. Kumar, however, refused to comment on the reason behind the derailment, saying, "He was not in a position to ascertain the same as of now."
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma told CNN-News18 that it was a sad incident. "I cannot say anything about the number of deaths and injuries until all the facts are on the table." Railways rescue workers are busy working, and ensuring that those injured in the accident are brought to hospitals, he said.
The rescue operation hit a roadblock after the darkness set in. "The government has ensured proper lighting facilities at the spot. The administration is currently in touch with local authorities, too," Sharma said.
A volunteer breaks the glass of a train compartment window to rescue passengers trapped after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday, August 19, 2017. (AP Photo)
Union Health Minister JP Nadda, keeping the gravity of the situation in mind, asked the Central Trauma Care teams to remain on standby as they can be put into service anytime.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed extreme pain over the Utkal Express derailment and said the Railway Ministry and the state government were doing everything possible and providing all assistance required.
He said the situation was being monitored very closely by the Railways Ministry.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment. He said he was personally monitoring the situation and strict action will be taken in case of any lapse. Prabhu also announced Rs 3.5 lakh exgratia for those who lost their lives, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who received minor injuries.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has also announced Rs 5 lakh exgratia to the kin of any Odia passenger dead in Utkal Express derailment. He also asked two of his ministers to reach the site and expedite rescue and relief operations.
The train tragedy in Muzaffarnagar is the second major of the year. In January 2017, nine coaches and one diesel engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur–Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. Forty-one people had died and 68 had suffered injuries.
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