12 coaches of Guwahati-Bikaner Express derail in Bengal. 5 dead, over 20 injured
Guwahati-bound Bikaner Express derailed at about 5pm between New Domohani and New Maynaguri stations in West Bengal at about 5pm
KOLKATA: Twelve coaches of the Guwahati-bound Bikaner Express derailed in the Maynaguri region of north Bengal on Thursday evening, leaving five passengers dead and many injured.
Jalpaiguri district magistrate Moumita Godara Basu said five bodies have been found till 7pm and over 20 passengers with injuries were rushed to the local Moynaguri government hospital. About 15 passengers are reported to be in critical condition. A special train from Jalpaiguri reached the accident site at around 7 pm to take the injured to the hospital.
The location where the train with 577 passengers met with the accident is part of the Alipuarduar section of the Northeast Frontier Railway.
A railways spokesperson said the accident took place at 5pm, nearly seven minutes after the express train passed the New Domohani station.
“12 coaches jumped off the tracks of which two capsized,” Guneet Kaur, chief public relation officer of Northeast Frontier Railway said.
Most of the passengers were going to Assam. Kaur said passengers who were not hurt in the accident will be taken to Guwahati on a separate train.
Jalpaiguri district magistrate Moumita Godara Basu said they were getting generators to light up the area. “All departments have been alerted. Rescue staff are being rushed from all locations,” Basu said.
In New Delhi, the railways ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident by the railway safety commissioner.
Photographs and videos that appeared on local media channels showed two coaches lying on the ground and three more off the tracks. One of the coaches appeared to be badly damaged.
“There were not too many passengers in the train because of the Covid pandemic (restrictions),” Dilip Kumar Singh, divisional railway manager of the Alipuarduar section of the Northeast Frontier Railway, told reporters.
“Several teams are rushing to the spot. I am on my way. This is a case of derailment. Our men are making efforts to rescue the injured. We have no exact figure on casualties,” said Singh.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted that senior officers of the state government were supervising the rescue and relief operations. “Deeply concerned to hear about the tragic accident of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express in Maynaguri,” she said on Twitter, adding that the injured will receive medical attention, as early as possible.
West Bengal government officials said Mamata Banerjee was at the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conference on the covid-19 pandemic when she was informed about the train accident.
The chief minister instructed all senior police and health department officials to arrange for rescue and treatment of the passengers,” an official said.