Derailment that killed hundreds in India caused by signal error, official says as rescue concludes
The death toll is the highest for any Indian train accident since 1995.
An electronic signaling system error caused a train to incorrectly change tracks and collide with a freight train, derailing and killing hundreds of people and injuring hundreds more in eastern India, officials said Sunday as they concluded rescue operations.
Two passenger trains, carrying 2,296 people, derailed Friday evening in Odisha state. Preliminary investigations show that the high-speed Coromandel Express received a signal to run on the main track, but after the signal changed, the train entered an adjacent loop line and collided into an iron ore freight train. The collision flipped Coromandel Express’s coaches onto a nearby track, which caused the incoming Yesvantpur-Howrah Express to also derail, according to senior railway official Jaya Verma Sinha, The Associated Press reported.
Verma said the trains were not overspeeding and a detailed investigation will reveal whether the signaling system error was technical or human.
Rescue operations concluded Sunday, officials said, according to Reuters.
The death toll from the collision has ranged from at least 275 to more than 300 people. Some of the bodies were counted twice on Friday, Odisha state official Pradeep Jena said. The death toll is still the highest for any Indian train accident since 1995, when 358 people died after two trains collided near New Delhi.