News ID: 115775
Publish Date : 06 June 2023 - 22:33

India Says 83 Bodies Unclaimed After Train Tragedy

BALASORE, India (Reuters) -- Indian authorities made fervent appeals to families on Tuesday to help identify 83 unclaimed bodies kept in hospitals and mortuaries after the death toll in the country’s deadliest rail crash in over two decades rose to 288.
The disaster struck on Friday, when a passenger train hit a stationary freight train, jumped the tracks and hit another passenger train passing in the opposite direction near the district of Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha.
Bijay Kumar Mohapatra, health director of Odisha, told Reuters that authorities were trying to source iced containers to help preserve the unclaimed bodies.
The state government revised the death toll upwards to 288, from 275 earlier, and said that 205 dead bodies have been identified and handed over. The remaining 83 will be preserved, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said.
At state capital Bhubaneswar’s biggest hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), large television screens displayed pictures of the dead to help desperate families who are scouring hospitals and mortuaries for friends and relatives.
A detailed list was made of distinguishing features for each body, but relatives could first view photographs, however gruesome, to identify missing loved ones, a senior police official told Reuters.
The trains had passengers from several states and officials from seven states were in Balasore to help people claim the bodies and take the dead home, the police official added.
A team from the federal Central Bureau of Investigation reached the site on Tuesday to start a probe into the cause of the disaster. A separate inquiry by the railway’s safety commission started on Monday.
A signal failure was the likely cause of the disaster, according to preliminary findings, which indicated the Coromandel Express, heading southbound to Chennai from Kolkata, moved off the main line and entered a loop track – a side track used to park trains – at 128 kph (80 mph), crashing into the stationary freight train.
That crash caused the engine and first four or five coaches of the Coromandel Express to jump the tracks, topple and hit the last two coaches of the Yeshwantpur-Howrah train heading in the opposite direction at 126 kph on the second main track.