- By Jaroslav Lukiv & George Wright
- BBC News
Authorities say at least 288 people have been killed and 900 injured after multiple trains collided in India’s eastern Odisha state.
Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said more than 200 ambulances were dispatched to the spot in Balasore district.
A passenger train is believed to have derailed before colliding with another on a nearby track late Friday.
This is India’s worst train accident this century. Officials said the death toll would rise further.
Indian Railways said two services, Coromandel Express and Howrah Superfast Express, were affected.
Odisha Fire Service Director General Sudanshu Sarangi said the death toll stands at 288.
Mr Jena had earlier said that more than 100 additional doctors had been mobilized.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is heartbroken by the incident and his thoughts are with the bereaved families.
“Rescue operations are underway at the accident site and all possible assistance is being provided to the victims,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah termed the incident as “deeply distressing”.
“When the accident happened, 10 to 15 people fell on top of me and everything went haywire. I was at the bottom of the pile,” said one male survivor.
“I got injuries on my arm and the back of my neck. When I came out of the train bogie, I saw that someone had lost an arm, someone had lost a leg and someone had a mutilated face,” the survivor told India’s ANI. news agency.
A day of mourning has been declared in the state.
Several coaches are believed to have derailed from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express at around 19:00 local time (13:30 GMT), some of which were traveling in the opposite direction.
Another train – Howrah Superfast Express from Yesvantpur to Howrah – is believed to have hit the overturned coaches later.
Indian officials said that a freight train standing at the spot was also involved in the incident. They did not provide further details.
A few surviving passengers rushed to rescue those trapped in the wreckage.
Local bus companies are also helping to transport injured passengers.
India has one of the world’s largest rail networks and accidents are common despite successive governments investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure, says BBC South Asia regional editor Anbarasan Ethirajan.
India’s worst train disaster was in 1981, when an overcrowded passenger train derailed and was swept into a river during a cyclone in the state of Bihar, killing at least 800 people.
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