Jalpaiguri, West Bengal:
Distressing visuals have surfaced of multiple passengers trapped in the debris after a train accident in North Bengal. 12 coaches of the Guwahati-Bikaner Express train derailed near the Maynaguri town of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal today. At least five people have been killed and 45 injured, news agency PTI said. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will visit the accident site tonight, sources said.
At least 40 people have been rescued from the derailed coaches, 24 were sent to Jalpaiguri district hospital and 16 were sent to Moynaguri government hospital. About 10 people are critical and will be shifted to the North Bengal Medical College in Siliguri, New Frontier Railway sources said.
Many passengers are feared trapped inside the derailed coaches and gas cutters are being used to cut open the mangled coaches, according to Railway sources.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said he is “personally monitoring” the situation and that he has spoken to PM Narendra Modi and apprised him of the rescue operations.
“In an unfortunate accident, 12 Coaches of Bikaner – Guwahati Exp. derailed near New Maynaguri (West Bengal) this evening. Personally monitoring the situation for swift rescue operations,” he said in a tweet.
A High-level Commissioner Railway Safety inquiry has been ordered in the accident. Chairperson of the Railway Board and DG (Safety), Railway Board are leaving from Delhi to the site of the accident.
Compensation has been announced as ₹ 5 lakh for death, ₹ 1 lakh for grievous injury, and ₹ 25,000 for “simple injuries”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in the middle of a meeting with chief ministers to review the COVID-19 situation, inquired with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee about the accident. Ms Banerjee, who had spoken to the Jalpaiguri district magistrate, briefed the prime minister about the relief and rescue operations.
Visuals from the accident site show people being rescued from the debris of multiple damaged train coaches lying sideways next to the elevated train tracks. Police can be seen on-site, with locals and other passengers helping in relief and rescue operations.
Rescue trains from New Jalpaiguri and New Alipurduar have been rushed to the spot.
The train derailed between the New Domohani and New Maynaguri railway stations at around 5 pm. Railway and district administration officials are doing rescue and relief work.
“We felt a sudden shock. We were all rocking violently and luggage kept on upper berths tumbled all around,” a passenger told news agency PTI.
A partially mangled coach got perched atop another under the impact, while a few bogies had hurtled down the slope and overturned.
The train had left Bikaner junction yesterday and was supposed to reach Guwahati this evening.