At least 23 people have died and over 72 injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express ran off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.
The accident occurred around 5.45 p.m. when 14 coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express bound for Haridwar derailed in Khatauli in Meerut-Saharanpur Division. The impact of the accident was so severe that one of the coaches could be seen mounted on another while another coach had crashed into a building along the tracks.
Police and railway officials said they were keeping all options open when asked whether there could be a terror angle in the accident.
The railways and the police summoned all equipment including heavy lift cranes and gas cutters to access the affected coaches and cut through them to bring passengers to safety.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives and Rs 50,000 each for those seriously injured. He also announced Rs 25,000 for passengers with minor injuries.
After the news cameout Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu & PM Modi Tweeted saying
Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased: PM
Have ordered inquiry into the unfortunate accident to ascertain the cause. Strict action will be taken against any lapse
— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) August 19, 2017
Meanwhile, the railways also issued following helpline numbers:
New Delhi 01123342954/01123341074
Bhubaneswar 0674- 2534027/2490670