Odisha Balasore Train Accident: Human Error

The train collision in Odisha’s Balasore district sent shockwaves across the country, leaving a trail of devastation and causing concern. Odisha Balasore train accident could have been human error. On that fateful day, tragedy struck when the Coromandel Express changed course to parallel tracks at high speed instead of following the designated route near Bahanaga Bazar railway station. The collision with a stationary freight train caused a chain reaction, affecting the Bengaluru-Howrah Express. Let’s gaudoi.vn find out more about this incident.

Odisha Balasore Train Accident: Human Error
Odisha Balasore Train Accident: Human Error

I. Information about the Odisha Balasore Train Accident

On June 2, 2023, a train accident occurred in Balasore district, Odisha, India. Coromandel Express, a train traveling from Shalimar in Howrah to MGR Chennai Central in Chennai on the main line, mistakenly switched to a parallel loop line at high speed instead of staying on the main line near Bahanaga Bazar railway station.

On the loop line, Coromandel Express collided with a stationary freight train. Due to the high impact speed, 21 coaches of Coromandel Express derailed from the main tracks, and three of them collided with the rear of Bengaluru-Howrah Express, a superfast train passing through the station simultaneously.

It has been reported that both locomotive pilots were not present in the cab, and the braking van of Bengaluru-Howrah Express derailed. However, the remaining portion of the train, including the locomotive and 20 coaches, continued its journey to Balasore, where another locomotive pilot was detached. The remaining 19 locomotive pilots then proceeded to the final destination of the train, Howrah.

Currently, there is no information available regarding the number of passengers injured or fatalities on the train coaches. The process of identifying the passengers onboard the coaches is still ongoing.

II. The cause of the train accident

From the information provided, the cause of the train collision in Odisha Balasore could be a mistake in the rail system or error on the part of the train or the operating staff. This resulted in the Coromandel Express switching to a parallel loop route instead of continuing on the main line near Bahanaga Bazar station.

The change to a roundabout route while the train was traveling at high speed caused a collision with a stationary freight train. As a result, the Coromandel Express carriage derailed and several carriages crashed into the tail of the Bengaluru – Howrah Express, the express train that was passing through the station at the same time.

However, details of the exact cause and responsibility in this collision may need to be determined by the authorities and the official investigation. Further details and final conclusions will be provided once the investigation is complete.

III. Victims and emergency response

1. Victims

The train collision at Odisha Balasore killed a total of 294 people. Most of the victims were in the first three carriages of the Coromandel Express, the so-called general coach, where many passengers stood.

The bodies of the dead passengers were taken to a local high school due to the large space and proximity to the crash site. However, identifying the victims became more difficult due to burns or other trauma. Officials used luggage, phones and other items to try to identify the passengers. This is made more difficult because the railway system only records the names of passengers who have reserved seats.

By the evening of June 3, 1,175 people had been hospitalized as a result of the accident. Of those, 793 have been released and 382 are still being treated. Local hospitals have managed to provide adequate care to the patients, although they have faced overcrowding due to the large number of injured.

2. Emergency response

During the train collision at Odisha Balasore, the rescue and medical authorities coordinated to respond and give first aid as soon as the accident happened. Here is some information about emergency and response operations:

  • Rescue Force: Units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed to participate in the rescue operation. A total of three NDRF units were involved in the rescue work and four units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force were also deployed. This team includes professional lifeguards and is experienced in finding and rescuing people trapped in crowds and in congested environments.
  • Medical emergency: Hundreds of doctors and paramedics were deployed to the scene and local hospitals to provide first aid and treatment to the injured. Local hospitals worked at full capacity to ensure that all the injured received the necessary medical care.
  • Local help: Local fire units and bus companies assisted in transporting injured passengers to the hospital and removing them from the scene. Locals provided water and assisted with luggage collection for passengers.
  • Partners from other states: Governments of other states such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have sent medical teams and rescuers to Odisha to assist with rescue and emergency work. This has increased responsiveness and ensured that the necessary resources and expertise are available to assist.

The response and emergency management in the train collision incident is a multifaceted task that requires collaboration among multiple competent authorities in the respective states.

IV. Investigation by authorities

The train accident investigation is continuing to determine the exact cause of the incident. Currently, information about the exact cause has not been made public. However, according to the information that has been given earlier, several factors can be considered:

  1. Fault in the signaling system: A fault in the electronic signaling system, particularly the electronic interlock system, is believed to have contributed to the crash. Changing tracks and deficiencies in signaling system operating procedures may be potential causes.
  2. Defects in safety systems: Railway authorities have received warnings about deficiencies in the anti-collision signaling system and other faults on the track where the accident occurred. The implementation of the anti-collision system and full safety compliance may have been flawed.
  3. Human factor: Railway staff errors and omissions in following safety procedures and operating signal systems can also increase the risk of accidents.

Investigative agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS), are conducting an investigation to understand the incident in detail and determine the cause of the incident. accident. Official information on the results of the investigation will be announced after completion and verification.

V. Consequences of train accident

The aftermath of the train collision resulted in significant consequences.

Loss of lives: The incident tragically led to the loss of numerous lives. The initial reports stated that a total of 294 people were killed in the accident. The victims primarily included passengers who were in the first three coaches of the Coromandel Express.

Injuries and hospitalizations: Many individuals were injured in the collision and required medical attention. According to reports, 1,175 people were admitted to hospitals as a result of the accident. While some of the injured were treated and discharged, others remained hospitalized for further medical care.

Strain on healthcare facilities: The high number of injured individuals strained local healthcare facilities. Hospitals in the affected areas had to deal with a significant influx of patients, which posed challenges in providing prompt and adequate medical care. However, efforts were made to ensure that the injured received necessary treatment and attention.

Investigation and inquiries: Following the accident, investigations were initiated to determine the causes and responsibility for the collision. The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) submitted a report to the railway board, highlighting the human error as a contributing factor. Additionally, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was involved in a separate investigation into the incident.

Safety system and infrastructure improvements: The accident shed light on the deficiencies in the existing safety systems and infrastructure of the railway network. The need for implementing collision prevention systems, signal systems, and other safety measures was emphasized to prevent similar accidents in the future.

Public scrutiny and demands for accountability: The incident drew public attention and raised concerns about railway safety standards. There were calls for accountability and improvement in safety protocols to ensure the well-being of passengers and prevent such accidents from occurring again.

VI. Reactions of people

The train collision incident evoked various reactions from people and political leaders. Here are some notable responses:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the incident and conveyed his thoughts to the grieving families.
  • Amit Shah, the Minister of Home Affairs, described the incident as “extremely tragic.”
  • Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha, and Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, expressed their concerns regarding the disaster and extended their support to India.
  • The Ministers of Odisha and Tamil Nadu declared a day of mourning and subsequently announced compensation of ₹5 lakh (approximately $6,300) for the families of the deceased.
  • Several opposition parties, including the Indian National Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Communist Party of India, called for the resignation of Railway Minister Vaishnaw.

These reactions reflect the widespread sadness, concern, and demands for accountability and appropriate measures in the aftermath of the tragic train accident.

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