Fifty five people are feared dead in a train collision in West Bengal, near the Jharkhand border. Over 86 people have been taken to hospital, some are said to be in critical condition.
At around 2 am on Monday, the Uttar Banga Express coming in from New Cooch Behar to Sealdah rammed a stationary Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express at Sainthia station in Virbhum district, 191 kms from Howrah.
Casualties are feared in two general second class bogies of the Vananchal Express. These coaches and the luggage van and guard van of the train were hit. A local television channel said so severe was the impact that the roof of a bogey had been detached in the collision and was thrown up on an overbridge.
Relief operations are on and around 32 bodies have reportedly been removed from the wreckage. The Army has also been called in for rescue operations. Seven Army officers and 160 jawans have been sent to the site. Equipment like gas cutters are being used to bring people out of the mangled heaps that the bogies are. More gas cutters are being brought from Panagarh and Kachhrapara to extricate bodies trapped in the mangled coaches. The focus is on saving lives and the locals in the area have been helping in rescue work. There are some people coming out unscathed from the wreckage.
PTI said Eastern Railway sources in Kolkata had confirmed that the driver of the Uttar Banga Express, M C Dey, had died in the accident, but there were no reports about the fate of assistant driver N K Mandal.
The guard of the Vananchal Express, A Mukherjee, also died in the accident.
Sainthia is about 22 km from Rampurhat and most of the injured are being taken to a hospital there. Some have been taken to the district headquarters, Shiuri. Some of the injured at Shiuri are said to be in critical condition. There is reportedly a shortage of blood.
The first accident relief train and medical van reached the spot at about 3.35 am. More trains are on their way from Rampurhat, Asansol and Burdwan.
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