In a tragic incident near Kothavalasa railway station in Vizianagaram district, the Andhra Pradesh train accident occurred, claiming at least 10 lives and causing injuries to several others.
Railway ministry sources revealed on Monday that the accident was attributed to the loco pilot’s error in disregarding a red signal, as the passenger train en route from Visakhapatnam to Rayagada collided with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train.
According to a media report, it was stated that the train was supposed to halt for two minutes at the malfunctioning auto signals, and then resume its journey at a speed of 10 kmph. However, this protocol was not followed, ultimately resulting in the collision.
Since June 2, this marks the third rail accident. The first occurred when the Coromandel Express collided with a stationary freight train in Balasore, Odisha, resulting in 296 fatalities and 1,200 injuries. The second incident took place on October 11, when the Delhi-Kamakhya North East Express derailed in Bihar’s Buxar, claiming five lives and causing injuries to 30 individuals.
The incident on Sunday transpired as the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train was in the process of transitioning from the main track to a side track. Concurrently, the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train, operating on the main track, collided with the former, causing the last three coaches to derail upon impact and inflicting significant damage on two of them.
Vizianagaram SP Deepika Patil confirmed that “at least 10 persons were killed, and over 25 were seriously injured in the accident. Four coaches of the Rayagada passenger train were involved”. However, East Coast Railway’s Waltair division manager Saurabh Prasad said: “Three coaches were involved in the accident.”
Due to the coaches being designated as “unreserved,” the identities of the deceased passengers remain unknown. Officials express concern that the casualty count might rise, as some individuals may still be trapped within the mangled coaches. Prompt action was taken by locals from the nearby Kantakapalle village, who initiated relief and rescue operations.
They managed to extricate the trapped passengers and transfer the injured to nearby hospitals. However, the challenging conditions of darkness hindered these efforts. In response, emergency lights were deployed to aid the police, railway personnel, and other officials in the rescue operation. Furthermore, NDRF and SDRF teams were mobilized, and ambulances were dispatched from Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam to attend to the injured.
Here are details of some of the deadliest rail accidents in recent decades in India
June 1981: At least 800 people are killed when seven rear coaches of an overcrowded passenger train are blown off the track and fall into a river during a cyclone.
July 1988: An express train leaves the rails and plunges into a monsoon-swollen lake near Quilon in southern India, killing at least 106 people.
August 1995: At least 350 people are killed when two trains collide 200 km (125 miles) from Delhi.
August 1999: Two trains collide near Calcutta, leading to the deaths of at least 285 people.
October 2005: Several coaches of a passenger train derail in southern Andhra Pradesh state, near Velugonda. At least 77 people are killed.
July 2011: Around 70 people are killed and over 300 injured when a mail train derails in Fatehpur.
November 2016: Some 146 people are killed and more than 200 injured when an express train derails in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
January 2017: At least 41 people are killed after several coaches of a passenger train go off the rails in southern Andhra Pradesh state.
October 2018: A commuter train runs through a crowd gathered on the tracks for a festival in northern India’s Amritsar city, killing at least 59 people and injuring 57.
May 2020: Aurangabad railway accident: 16 migrant workers killed.
January 2022: Coaches of the Bikaner–Guwahati Express derailed, causing 9 deaths.
June 2023: 2023 Odisha train collision: Major train collision with multiple casualties.