India: Trains resume at crash site as investigation begins

An investigation began into the deadly crash in the Indian state of Odisha, which took nearly 300 lives and left thousands injured

India: Trains resume at crash site as investigation begins (Photo: DW)
India: Trains resume at crash site as investigation begins (Photo: DW)


Trains are once again running at the site of Friday's deadly rail crash near Balasore in the state of Odisha in India, officials said on Monday.

The incident was India's most devastating train accident in decades and led to the loss of nearly 300 lives while leaving hundreds injured.

Investigation into rail crash begins

Authorities launched an official investigation into the incident on Monday.

An issue with the electronic signaling system led a train to wrongly change tracks, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

"Who has done it and what is the reason will come out of an investigation," he said in an interview with New Delhi Television network.

Railway officials and witnesses gathered to submit evidence to a two-day inquiry, led by a local rail safety commissioner in Kharagpur in the state of West Bengal, 120 km from the crash site.

"Several officials and witnesses have joined the inquiry. The inquiry is underway," a senior railway official told Reuters news agency, as documents were checked and submitted for examination.

But India's Railway Board, the top executive body, has recommended that the Central Bureau of Investigation take over the investigation.

Services resume after crash

There are concerns that the number of fatalities may increase as medical facilities struggle to cope with the influx of patients, many of whom are in critical condition.

Vaishnaw told reporters, "We have to move towards normalization... Our responsibility is not over yet."

Green netting has been put up on both sides of the tracks, concealing the wreckage of the crushed carriages, which had been pushed down the embankment.

It remains unclear whether all the tracks have been completely repaired, as trains on Monday were limited to using only one side of the lines.

How did the incident occur

Local reports suggest that the high-speed passenger train Coromandel Express received a signal to enter the main track line. The signal was later pulled back, with the train entering an adjacent loop line instead, crashing into the second train, which was carrying goods.

The impact caused several carriages on the first passenger train to flip onto another track, where an incoming third train — the Yesvantpur-Howrah Express — carrying more passengers crashed into the first.

More than 2,000 people were on board the two passenger trains.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the crash site and some of the injured passengers in the hospital on Saturday. He said that those responsible for the tragedy would be punished.

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