In the wee hours of Sunday morning, 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in Pukhraya, near Kanpur, killing at least 96 passengers. Here is all you need to know about the tragedy.
What exactly happened?
At about 3 am of Sunday morning the Patna bound Indore-Patna Express ( Train No 19313) derailed near Pukhraya, which is about 100 kms away from Kanpur. Four coaches of the train - S1, S2, S3, S4- were badly damaged in the mishap that took place at around 3 AM near Pukhraya. Most of the passengers were jolted out of their sleep to find themselves among mangled remains of the bogies.
How many casualties have been reported so far?
According to official figures, 96 passengers were killed and over 150 injured. But the death toll is expected to rise. "96 bodies have been pulled out so far. There can be more bodies trapped," Superintendent of Police, Kanpur Dehat Prabhakar Chowdhury told PTI over phone. The death toll could go up as the two mangled coaches of the train are yet to be cut, says Javeed Ahmad, DG, Uttar Pradesh.
Where are the injured being taken?
According to the Railway Ministry the injured passengers are being taken to the Kanpur Dehat hospital (Phone:05111 270 728)."All hospitals have been asked to be on alert. More than 30 ambulances have been pressed into service," IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmed told PTI. Over 250 police officials are carrying out the rescue and relief operations.
A help desk has been set up at the Patna railway station to assist family members of the Patna-Indore Express passengers.
What is being done for the stranded passengers?
According to the Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar , doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials. Buses have been provided to help passengers complete their journey. A special train has been despatched to ferry the stranded passengers to Patna.
What's the cause of the derailment?
Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, according to experts suggested that the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry."Earlier these kind of accidents used to happen because of the negligence of the driver but despite taking all safety measures this tragic incident took place.This is a cause of concern and we are investigating the reasons behind it," said MOS Railway, Rajen Gohain. "There must be a fault in the track as 14 bogeys have derailed and this happened despite regular checking of the tracks," he added.
What does the government have to say?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the train tragedy.
"Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said in a tweet.
Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 20, 2016
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy and announced ex-gratia for the families of the victims.Prabhu said the Commissioner of Railway Safety will probe the reasons behind the derailment.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh offered his condolences saying he was deeply pained by the loss of lives and that his thoughts are with the bereaved families.
"I have spoken to DG NDRF and instructed him to rush NDRF teams to Pukhrayan. He is also leaving for Pukhrayan to oversee the rescue ops," Rajnath tweeted.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has instructed Principal Secretary Health Arun Kumar Sinha to ensure no shortage of medicines and blood for the treatment of patients from the train accident. He has also directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to personally monitor the relief operations.
What kind of compensation is being offered to the injured and the families of victims?
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 3.5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 for those critically injured in the accident. Prabhu also announced compensation of Rs. 25,000 for those who sustained minor injuries. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for families of those killed in derailment and Rs 50,000 for seriously injured.
What do you do if you have a friend or a family member in the train?
Railways has released helpline numbers which will help you track them - Indore- 07411072, Ujjain- 07342560906, Ratlam- 074121072, Orai- 051621072, Jhansi- 05101072, Pokhraya- 05113270239.