- A Delhi-bound train derailed early morning today in Vaishali district
- Fracture in the track appears to have caused the accident, railways said
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident
At least six people have died and 36 injured after a Delhi-bound train derailed early morning today in Bihar's Vaishali district, about 30 km from Patna. Eleven coaches of Seemanchal Express came off the tracks near Sahadai Buzurg station at around 4 am.
The superfast train from Jogbani in Bihar to Delhi's Anand Vihar Terminal was running at 55 kilometres an hour when the accident took place, officials said. Three of the coaches overturned and the high force of the impact destroyed them completely.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force reached the spot, a railway official said. As per initial probe, the engine separated and chugged forward with the first few coaches and those decoupled eventually derailed. A fracture in the track appears to have caused the accident, the railways said.
The train accident comes days after the government said it had improved rail safety. "Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history," Minister Piyush Goyal told parliament while presenting the interim budget. "All Unmanned Level Crossings have been eliminated," he had said on Friday citing one of the main causes of train accidents.
Rescue and relief operations are on for derailment of 9 coaches of Jogbani-Anand Vihar Terminal Seemanchal express at Sahadai Buzurg, Bihar.— Piyush Goyal Office (@PiyushGoyalOffc) February 3, 2019
"Railway Minister is in touch with Railway Board members and GM ECR (East Central Railways) regarding #seemanchalexpress accident...He (Piyush Goyal) has expressed profound grief over the loss of innocent lives in this tragic accident and wished speedy recovery for the injured," the office of Piyush Goyal said in a statement.
The Railway Minister announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of those killed, Rs 1 lakh to the grievously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered simple injuries. Also, all medical expenses will also be borne by the Railways, the office of Piyush Goyal said on Twitter.
A passenger who survived the train accident told NDTV, "I heard a loud bang and fell on the floor of the coach. It was very dark, I couldn't see anything, felt broken glass everywhere." Recalling the ordeal, he said, "I lifted my father on my shoulders and made him crawl out of the broken window".
Among the 11 coaches that derailed are three sleeper coaches, one general coach and one AC coach, said an East Central Railway spokesperson. A team of doctors has been sent from nearby towns of Sonpur and Barauni to the site of accident.
All passengers trains on this route have been cancelled.
Leaders from across party lines, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have expressed grief over the incident.
Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the derailment of coaches of the Seemanchal Express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Railways, NDRF, and local authorities are providing all possible assistance in the wake of the accident.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 3, 2019
"I am very hurt by the train accident in Bihar. I express my deep sorrow and condolences towards the aggrieved families. Local Congress workers are requested to help the families affected by the accident," Mr Gandhi said in tweet in Hindi.
With inputs from agencies