Unidentified bodies shifted to mortuaries after India's devastating train mishap

2023-06-04 06:00:23 GMT2023-06-04 14:00:23(Beijing Time) Sina English


A general view as work to remove debris from train tracks continue, following a deadly collision of trains in Balasore, India, on June 4, 2023, in this still image obtained from a video.

As many as 160 unidentified dead bodies of the people who had died in Friday's devastating train accident in eastern India have been shifted to mortuaries in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha state, a local senior cop confirmed to Xinhua on Sunday.

Efforts will be made to preserve them at the mortuaries and facilitate smooth identification by family members of the deceased, Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police Prateek Singh said over phone.

A large number of ambulances carrying the bodies were seen arriving at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhubaneswar. "100 bodies will be kept at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, and the rest at other hospitals. The identification process is expected to take several days," Singh said.

Nearly 288 people died in the train crash, and the condition of nearly 60 is said to be serious. The death toll is feared to rise. Most of the deceased belonged to the states of West Bengal, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. The condition of most dead bodies is so bad, and efforts will be made to identify them with the help of DNA samples of their family members, a government official in Bhubaneswar said.

The mishap took place in the evening hours of Friday when two passenger trains bumped into a stationary goods train at a high speed in Odisha's Balasore district. The Coromandel Express train was running from Shalimar railway station in West Bengal toward the southern city of Chennai, while the Howrah Superfast Express was running from Yesvantpur station in Bengaluru, the capital city of the southern state Karnataka, toward Howrah in West Bengal.

Preliminary investigations suggested that first the Coromandel Express train hit the goods train, and soon after the Howrah Superfast Express which was coming on a parallel track from the opposite direction also bumped into the wreckage of the first two trains.

TV reports showed bogies of the three trains climbing atop each other.

A large number of passengers were trapped inside the mangled remains of the ill-fated trains. Dead bodies could be brought out after cutting the mangled remains with the help of gas-cutters.

Eye-witnesses said that one train rammed into another, lifting its carriages high into the air, then twisting and falling off the tracks.

"Everything was shaking and we could feel the coach toppling," Sanjay Mukhia, a daily wage worker traveling to Chennai on the Coromandel Express, was quoted as saying in a TV report.

Another survivor reportedly said that severed limbs of humans were scattered over the ripped metal wreckage.

Around 900 people were injured in the train accident, which is being described as the worst in the past one decade in India. According to initial media reports, the train accident occurred due to faulty signalling.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the crash site on Saturday, and told media that all possible probes would be instituted to know the reason of the accident and those found guilty would be dealt with sternly.

Meanwhile, some of the survivors arrived at the Chennai railway station on a special train from Odisha on Sunday morning.

Restoration work at the crash site continued overnight. Efforts were being made to relay the uprooted or broken railway tracks and restore the rail route as soon as possible.

According to sources at the Ministry of Railways, more than 1,000 workers are engaged in the restoration work round-the-clock. Cranes have been put into service for early restoration of railway routes.