NEW DELHI, India – A signal error that led. A train to change tracks was to blame for a crash in eastern India that killed 300 people. And injured hundreds more, officials said Sunday.
The probable cause emerged as families across India rushed
To the scene for news of missing loved ones as rescue workers combed. Through the wreckage of the overturned railway cars.
Officials are also scrambling to restore train service. As the disaster raises new concerns about safety. And modernization in the world’s most populous country. Where the rail network serves as a lifeline.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnab said. That a fault in the electronic signaling system caused. The train to change tracks and crash into a freight train on Friday night.
“The accident happened due to a change in electronic interlocking. And who or who did it and whatever the reason will be known after investigation. Vaishnav said in an interview with India’s ANI news agency at the site of the disaster on Sunday.
An initial report signed by railway officials. The train then entered another line known as the loop line. And collided with a goods train standing there.
The incoming Jaswantpur-Howrah Express then collided with overturned coaches. Which overturned on the main line and derailed, reports said.
Railway Board member Jaya Verma Sinha also made a similar assessment
The freight train was loaded with heavy iron ore. Which meant huge damage to the passenger train that crashed into it, he said at a press conference on Sunday. He added that the passenger trains, which were carrying a total of 2,296 people, were not running.
Authorities on Sunday revised the death toll down to at least 275. And said about 400 of the 1,175 injured had been hospitalized. A day after rescue efforts to find survivors were called off.
The first thing Anubhav Das saw after escaping from his car were hundreds of dead bodies. And people crying for help with brutal injuries on their arms, legs and heads.
“They wanted water or any kind of bandage, at that time we could give them. Das, a passenger on the southbound. Coromandel Express train from Kolkata to Chennai, told todaystrendnews.
He described making makeshift bandages from bed. sheets from other cars as small children screamed for their parents.
At that point there were headless bodies all around
Severed arms all around,” he said, adding that the site was full of parents. who “couldn’t find their children in the darkness and all the rubble,” he said.
Das said he didn’t realize the disaster he had lived through until he turned on his television the next day. “I was actually shocked. I couldn’t imagine. that you could come out of something like that completely unscathed,” he added.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday praised citizens. who “immersed themselves” in helping. the rescue efforts when he visited the disaster site.
Modi said the government would make every effort to help the accident victims. and would punish anyone responsible.
The derailment raises fresh questions about Modi’s efforts to upgrade. and modernize a British colonial-era railway network. That is still beset by fatal accidents. The government has spent billions trying to make India’s railways 100% electrified. By 2024, the same year he faces an election.
Previous train accidents have been blamed.
On human error or the use of outdated signaling equipment
“The system is 99.9% error free. But there is always a 0.1% chance of an error,” Verma Sinha said on Sunday. He added that though the root cause of the crash was related. To a malfunction in the electronic signaling system. A detailed investigation would reveal whether the error was technical or human.
Modi has been invited to address a joint session of Congress during. His official state visit to the US later this year.
President Joe Biden said in a statement late Saturday night. That “Jill and I are heartbroken by the tragic news of the deadly train accident in India.”
He added: “Our prayers go out to those. Who have lost loved ones and those who have been injured in this terrible incident.”
Ravi Mishra reports from New Delhi and Leela Sakkur from London.