9 killed, 40 injured as 2 trains collide in Andhra, human error suspected
At least eight persons died and around 20 were injured after two trains collided in Vizianagaram district on the Howrah-Chennai line on Sunday evening, a police official said.
A senior official of the East Coast Railway said the Palasa Passenger hit the Rayagada Passenger from behind at Kankatapalli, which caused three coaches to derail.
A senior Railway official meanwhile said 18-20 people were injured, adding that the injured are being shifted to hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram.
Dr S Appala Naidu, superintendent of the government General Hospital In-Charge, Vizianagaram, spoke to PTI and said, "Ambulances have been sent to the accident sites and as of now we have received 20 injured people, out of which, three are serious. More ambulances are on the way so the number of injured persons might increase."
The doctor added, "We haven't received any bodies in the hospital as of now. However, there are reports of death of some passengers too."
East Coast Railway CPRO said that the accident took place between Alamanda and Kantakapalli in Vizianagaram-Kottavalasa Railway Section of Waltair Division of East Coast Railway Zone at about 1900hrs.
The officials said that train number 08532 Visakhapatnam-Palasa Passenger train and 08504 Visakhapatnam-Rayagada Passenger Special were involved in the accident and said that the Rayagada passenger had overshot the signal.
Two coaches of 08532 Visakhapatnam-Palasa Passenger train from the rear and the loco of 08504 Visakhapatnam-Rayagada Passenger got derailed, the official added.
Rescue operations are underway with DRM/Waltair and his Team on the spot. Accident Relief Trains and other rescue equipments have been engaged, the official said.
Divisional railway manager Saurabh Prasad reached the site, and rescue operations are on in full swing.
On receiving news of the rail accident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office tweeted saying the PM was in touch with the Railway Minister and that all assistance was being provided to those affected.
"@narendramodi spoke to Railway Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation in the wake of the unfortunate train derailment between Alamanda and Kantakapalle section. Authorities are providing all possible assistance to those affected. The prime minister extends condolences to the bereaved families and prays that the injured recover soon."
Andhra Pradesh Minister Botcha Satyanarayana also reached the spot and is overseeing the rescue operations.
Senior officials of Vizianagaram district have reached the spot to ascertain the situation and monitor rescue operations.
Rescue operations are hampered by darkness.
Meanwhile, East Coast Railway has set up helplines.
Local administration and the National Disaster Response Force were informed, seeking assistance and ambulances, and accident relief trains have reached the site, officials said.
Expressing shock over the incident, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy instructed officials concerned to undertake rescue operations.
He asked them to arrange ufficient number of ambulances to ferry the injured.