At least 31 people were killed and around 150 others injured today when the engine and two adjoining coaches of the Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derailed near Bachrawan Railway Station in this district. “The toll has gone up to 31,” Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Ahmed Hassan told PTI over phone. Officials feared that the casualties could go up.
Though the cause of the derailment was not immediately known, officials at the scene of the mishap said the train apparently overshot a signal because of a possible brake failure before coming off the rails. The scene of the accident that occured at 9.10 AM was some 50 km from the state capital Lucknow.
One of the coaches was a general compartment, which lay mangled along the tracks as rescuers used gas cutters to rip apart the wreckage to find trapped people. Most of the casualties were from this coach, officials said.
The other was a guard compartment which is likely to have been vacant. If not for the vacant coach, the number of casualties would have been higher, the officials said.
The locomotive driver apparently overshot the signal and as a result, the engine and two adjoining coaches derailed, Railway Spokesperson Anil Saxena said in Delhi.
Railways have ordered an inquiry and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the accident. While Rs 50,000 will be given to those injured seriously, Rs 20,000 will be given to people with minor injuries.
As soon as the news of the accident spread, people from nearby villages rushed to the spot to help in rescue and relief operations even before authorities arrived at the spot.
The accident spot presented a devastating sight with one of the bogies reduced to a mangle of steel.
There was some anxious moments in the area as furious locals raised slogans against the administration and railway authorities, saying the rescuers took a long time to reach the spot.
Ambulances carrying teams of doctors were rushed to the accident site to help passengers who were screaming in pain, eyewitnesses said.
Train movement on the Lucknow-Varanasi section of the Northern Railway has been disrupted due to the accident.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry by the Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle, to ascertain the cause of the derailment.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Senior railway officials including Chairman Railway Board AK Mital and Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha rushed to the site to monitor the rescue and relief operation.
Chief Medical Officer Lucknow, Dr SNS Yadav said that 24 medical teams with doctors and paramedical staff have been sent to the accident site.
He also said that over 150 beds have been set aside for the injured in hospitals in the state capital, which is around 78 km from Rae Bareli.
The accident site is about 30 km from Rae Bareli.
“More than 150 beds have been reserved in Lucknow and the medical teams are ready to treat those injured in the accident,” he said.
One paramedic in each hospital has been deputed to guide the injured, the CMO said.
Rescue teams from Lucknow and Rae Bareli rushed to the spot and cranes were deployed to lift the bogies.
District Magistrate, Lucknow, Rajshekhar also said that special arrangements were made to treat the injured passengers.
“50 beds are ready and over 30 patients are being treated in Lucknow. 15 doctors, 30 nurses and paramedics are on the job,” the DM said.