39 dead, 50 injured as nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derail in Andhra Pradesh

36 dead, 50 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 39 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.
The mishap  occurred at about 2315 hours yesterday near Koneru station, about 24 kms from Rayagada in Odisha, in Vizianagaram district under the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECR).
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian. He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
According to him, the derailed coaches included the guard-cum-luggage van, two General second class, four Sleeper class,one 2nd-cum-3rd AC and one 3rd AC coaches, apart from the engine.
ECR officials said Railway doctors at the scene of the accident had confirmed 39 deaths.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Railway Board Chairman A K Mital are rushing to the scene of the tragedy. Senior Railway officials, including ECR General Manager Umesh singh and Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee have reached the spot and are overseeing the rescue and relief efforts.
Mr. Prabhu expressed profound grief over the loss of lives in the accident. He announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passengers, Rs. 50,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs. 25,000 for those who had suffered simple injuries.
The Railways have ordered a statutory inquiry by Mr. Ram Kripal, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (South Central Circle), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, into the accident.
A special train with 13 coaches left with the stranded passengers of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul. Buses were provided for the relief of stranded passengers to carry them to various nearby places like Brahmapur, Bhawanipatna, and so on.
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada and police officials also reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site. Ambulances and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also rushed to the spot.
Railway officials said Mr. Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
With traffic on the Rayagada-Vizianagaram section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.


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