By India Today News Desk: US President Joe Biden on Saturday said he is heartbroken by the tragic news of a train crash in India that has killed over 280 people.
The crash in Odisha’s Balasore district involving three trains is one of the worst rail accidents in India in nearly three decades. At least 288 people are dead and over 1,100 injured.
“(First Lady Dr) Jill (Biden) and I are heartbroken by the tragic news of the deadly train crash in India. Our prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones and the many who suffered injuries in this terrible incident,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
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“The United States and India share deep bonds rooted in the ties of family and culture that unite our two nations — and people all across America mourn alongside the people of India. As the recovery effort continues, we will hold the people of India in our thoughts,” the statement added.
The train crash, one of the deadliest in India in recent times, happened near the Bahanaga Baazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar, around 7 pm on Friday. It is one of the deadliest train crashes in the history of the Indian Railways.
The Ministry of Railways said in a tweet that the rescue operation has completed at the derailment site and restoration work has commenced.
Odisha Train Accident: Rescue operation completed at derailment site and restoration work has commenced.
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) June 3, 2023
“Around 900 injured passengers are being treated at several hospitals in Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Cuttack districts,” Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said.
The Army was also roped in to assist the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), several fire units and ambulances in the rescue operation. Army medical and engineering teams with ambulances and support services have been deployed from the Eastern command. The teams were routed from multiple bases so as to reach the place of incident as early as possible.
The rescuers used gas-cutter torches and electric cutters and worked through the night to pull out survivors from the mangled remains of the trains involved in the accident.
About 200 ambulances and 45 mobile health teams have been deployed for rescue operations. Apart from that, about 50 additional doctors have also been mobilized.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has ordered a high-level probe into the derailment. The railway ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to those severely injured, and Rs 50,000 to those who sustained minor injuries.