A passenger train mowed down an elephant in Odisha's Sambalpur district early on Monday, following which the front trolley of its engine derailed, a railway official said. None on-board the train was hurt, he said.
According to the East Coast Railway (ECoR) official, the Puri-Surat Express, which was moving at a speed of 50km per hour along an elephant corridor, hit the tusker at 2.04 am near Bhabanipali village, between Hatibari and Maneswar railway stations. The Surat-bound train had left Hatibari at 1.55 am.
The divisional railway manager (DRM) of Sambalpur, Pradip Kumar, along with senior officers, on learning about the incident, rushed to the spot. The train subsequently retreated to Hatibari, and the old engine was replaced with a new one.
Light refreshments were provided to the passengers, as officials took time to clear the tracks. The Puri-Surat Express finally left Hatibari at 7.24 am, the ECoR official said, adding that movement of two other trains — Puri-Durg Express and Koraput-Bhubaneswar Special – were affected due to the mishap.
A five-member team has been constituted to investigate into the incident and submit a report, the DRM said. Apart from that, a team of the state forest department has also launched an inquiry into the circumstances under which the elephant died.