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Odisha train accident: 9 teams, over 300 rescuers working in coordination with SDRF, other agencies, says NDRF DG
New Delhi: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) DG Atul Karwal on Saturday said that a rescue operation is being carried out with proper coordination between various agencies in the train accident in Odisha's Balasore.
Speaking to ANI, the NDRF DG said, "It is a very tragic incident, a huge loss of lives. Nine teams of NDRF - more than 300 rescuers - are working in coordination with SDRF and other agencies. This is the third such major incident in our history." "The force with which the three trains collided with each other resulted in several coaches getting crushed and being in a mangled condition there. It is a challenge to cut through them and get inside to ensure that the live victims are not affected," he added.
He further said that they were hopeful of winding up the rescue operation by Saturday evening.
"We are hopeful that as we work through the day today and clear more coaches, we will find more live people. We are working with all the forces who are on the ground with total coordination. We hope that this operation will be completed by today evening," he said.
The NDRF DG added that they often conduct mock drills to remain prepared for such situations.
"We perform the rescue operation based on which bogie has more chances of having more live victims and who needs help on priority. We are prepared for such incidents. Every year, we conduct mock exercises with Indian Railways for such tragedies. Last year we conducted 55 such mock drills. So, preparation and coordination with Railways was very good. So the response was very effective and we hope to wind it up by today evening," he said.
The death toll in the Odisha train accident involving two express trains -- Bengaluru-Howrah Express and Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express -- and a goods train in Balasore has risen to 238
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction on the parallel track rammed into the derailed coaches. Some 12 Coromandel Express coaches derail and hit the stationary goods train on the third track.
According to Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, the accident took place around 7 pm on Friday.
Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation.
"A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry," Vaishnaw said on Saturday.
He added, "Our focus is on rescue and relief operations. Restoration will begin after clearance from the district administration." (ANI)