The cause of a large-scale railway disaster in eastern India involving three trains, in which hundreds of people were killed, is the derailment of several cars of a high-speed passenger train. Amitabh Sharma, the executive director of the state-owned company "Indian Railways", told reporters on Saturday.
"Two passenger trains were active participants in this accident, the third freight train, which was standing still, also got into this accident," NDTV TV channel quotes him as saying.
Sharma said that, according to the initial data of the investigation, several cars of the high-speed train bound for Chennai derailed for unknown reasons and crashed into a warehouse on parallel tracks. Many wagons overturned. Soon, an oncoming passenger train collided with the derailed carriages. Minutes passed between the two incidents. According to eyewitnesses, the crash happened between 18:50 and 19:10 local time on Friday.
"Indian Railways" company will conduct an investigation into the circumstances and causes of the accident against the background of questions about a possible failure in the operation of safety systems, Sharma said.
It will be recalled that at least 288 people died and about 900 were injured as a result of the collision of three trains in India, reported on Saturday, June 3, international agencies AP and AFP with reference to the country's officials.
According to the director general of the fire service in the state of Odisha, where the tragedy occurred on Friday evening, more than 800 injured passengers were taken to hospitals, many of them in a critical condition, so the death toll "could rise significantly". A search and rescue operation is underway at the scene of the accident.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter that he was "shocked by the tragedy and expresses his condolences to the families of the victims.
The Odisha rail accident has become the third deadliest in the country. In 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi, killing 358 people. The worst railway tragedy in the history of India happened in 1981, when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in the state of Bihar and fell into a river. More than 800 people died then.
Indіa has one of the most extensive railways in the world. It provides transportation of more than 13 million people every day, writes the Reuters agency. Due to high demand, passenger train cars are constantly overloaded. Despite the government's efforts to improve safety on Indian railways, several hundred accidents occur every year, most of them due to human error or outdated signaling equipment.