A rescue operation is currently underway in two badly damaged coaches of the two express trains that were involved in the devastating accident at the Bahanaga station in Odisha’s Balasore district, which claimed the lives of at least 238 people, the state’s Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said on Saturday.
“Rescue operation is going on in two coaches, of which one is a general coach. The coaches have overturned and suffered massive damages, leading to difficulties in conducting the operation,” Jena said.
After technical team of the Railways suggested that was not possible to remove the coaches through cranes, the bogeys are cut down to remove the trapped passengers, he said, adding, that it will take another two to three hours to complete the rescue operation.
The number of injured passengers stands at around 900 as there were no new hospitalisations, Jena said.
The injured persons are in hospitals at Soro, Balasore, Bhadrak and Cuttack.
On casualties, the Chief Secretary said: “As per information received from the Balasore District Collector, the death toll remains at 238. The final figure will be clear in the next couple of hours. The entire team is working in autopsy and identification of dead bodies.”
Following autopsy, identification and establishment of relation, bodies will be handed over to the family members of the deceased, he said.
“The unidentified bodies will be preserved for 72 hours. If no one claims the bodies, we will take action as per medical procedures,” Jena added.
Seven NDRF teams, 5 ODRAF units and 24 Fire Services & Emergency Units are engaged in the rescue operations.
More than 200 ambulances engaged in shifting to hospitals and over 100 medical teams with paramedical staff along with medicines are at the accident site, officials said.
Food and drinking water have been arranged for stranded passengers at various stations and 30 buses deployed for their movement.
Revenue Minister Pramila Mallik, Health Minister Niranjan Pujari, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) and other senior officials are at the accident spot.