Jajpur (Odisha): A goods train derailed at Korai railway station in Odisha's Jajpur district on Monday morning, with wagons ploughing into waiting passengers, killing at least three of them and injuring seven others, officials said.
East Coast Railway (ECoR) officials said that the accident took place around 6.44 am when some people were waiting at the platform and the waiting hall for a passenger train.
Station staffers said that the loco pilot of the empty goods train moving from Dongoaposi to Chhatrapur applied sudden brakes, causing eight wagons to derail and plough into the passengers on the platform and the waiting hall.
Jajpur Additional District Magistrate Akshay Kumar Mallick, who is monitoring the rescue operation, said that some derailed wagons climbed the foot-over-bridge and fell on the waiting hall and ticket counter.
He said that two women are among the three deceased.
The two women were mother and daughter while a two-and-half-year-old child with them miraculously survived, the man who lost his wife and daughter said.
A senior police officer said that they suspect that more people might be trapped underneath the debris. The number of fatalities may go up as some people have been seriously injured, Railway officials said, adding that the station building was damaged in the accident.
In videos that have gone viral on social media, derailed wagons were seen strewn across both platforms with axles lying on the railway tracks.
Some wagons were seen damaging one entrance of the foot-over-bridge, while others tearing apart overhead power wires and demolishing buildings of the railway station.
Locals were seen giving a hand to rescue teams in clearing the debris and looking for bodies and injured persons beneath it.
Apart from Railways, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), Fire Services and locals are engaged in the rescue operations, an official said.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those sustaining minor injuries. "I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives in the Korai train accident. Announcing a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh to the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 to those sustaining minor injuries," he tweeted in Odia.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep condolences and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and free treatment for the injured. Patnaik asked Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Ramilla Mallick to visit the spot and take stock of the situation.
Train services were affected on the Howrah-Chennai route as both lines were blocked due to the accident.
ECoR has cancelled eight trains, short-terminated five and diverted 12 others, chief public relations officer Biswajit Sahu said.
An accident relief train and a medical team have been sent to the spot, he added.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded in various railway stations including Bhubaneswar and Puri. Some of them had already checked-out of their hotels and were waiting to board their trains.
ECoR has issued emergency helpline numbers 8455889905 (Korai station), 0674-2534027 (Bhubaneswar) and 0674-2492245 (Khurda Road). ECoR General Manager Roop Narayan Sunkar and other senior officials have rushed to the spot to monitor relief work.