Bhubaneshwar: The railways have gone into top gear and activated all emergency procedures to provide relief to the victims of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express that derailed late on Saturday night in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.
Railways have tied up with Parvatipuram bus depot to arrange for transport. 5 buses have already been arranged to take the passengers towards Palasa and Berhampur areas. A total of 15 buses are being arranged to take the stranded passengers to their respective destinations. Over 10 ambulances have been deployed to take the injured to hospital. 13 unaffected coaches including luggage-cum-guard van left for Rayagada and they will proceed to Bhubaneswar via Sambhalpur-Angul route, Chief PRO of East Coast Railway J P Mishra said. If necessary, extra coaches will be added at Rayagada, Mishra added.
The accident took place when the engine and nine coaches of train no- 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express went off the track near Kuneru station. Mishra said since several victims were still trapped under the coaches, the death toll is likely to increase. Rayagada Sub-collector Muralidhar Swain said that the number of injured could be over 100. The casualty figure may go up as many people are trapped, he added.
At Parvatipuram government hospital, 22 injured people were taken for treatment from where 7 were referred to Visakhapatnam. 32 were taken to Rayagada district hospital, Mishra said.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation. He directed senior officials to ensure prompt rescue and relief operations. Railway officials from nearby stations rushed to the site to monitor rescue operations. The train had departed from Jagdalpur at 3 p.m. on Saturday and was scheduled to reach Bhubaneswar at 8.25 a.m. on Sunday. The train ran off the track minutes after it entered Andhra Pradesh from Odisha The train passes through part of north coastal Andhra before re-entering Odisha.