Andhra Pradesh, Kantakapalli : The death toll in the train accident at Kantakapalli in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram rose to 13 on Monday, while the condition of four of the over 50 people injured in the accident is said to be critical, officials said.
Officials said the dead included the loco and assistant loco pilot of one of the trains involved in the accident (Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train). He said it “appears to be a classic case of human error” as the pilots of the Raigarh-bound train did not stop the train even when the signal was red.
Officials said Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav and Railway Board Chairperson Jaya Verma Sinha are monitoring the situation from the war room. In a post on social media platform X, Vaishnav said that apart from the derailed and affected coaches, others have been removed from the site.
Vaishnav on Sunday announced an ex-gratia of ₹10 lakh for the families of those killed, ₹2.5 lakh for those seriously injured and ₹50,000 for those with minor injuries.
The Raigarh bound train collided with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train waiting on the track between Alamanda and Kantakappalli railway stations. Due to the impact of the collision, four bogies of the second train landed on the adjacent track.
Rescue operations were hampered as power lines were severed due to the accident and the area was plunged into darkness before rescue workers could reach the spot. At least 13 trains were cancelled, diverted or terminated due to the track blockage.
The accident came months after a faulty connection in the automatic signaling system led to India’s worst rail disaster in two decades on June 2, killing 288 people and injuring more than 1,000 at Bahanaga Bazaar in Odisha. A passenger train derailed and hit a parked goods train before colliding with another passenger train in the opposite direction.
This month, four passengers were killed and 80 injured when coaches of the Delhi-Kamakhya Northeast Express derailed near Raghunathpur station in Bihar’s Buxar district.
Vizianagaram District Collector S Nagalakshmi said that of the 13 passengers killed, 10 have been identified so far. He said all those killed and injured were from Andhra Pradesh. “32 injured are undergoing treatment at the government hospital in Vizianagaram and some seriously injured have been shifted to corporate hospitals in Visakhapatnam. The condition of four of them is said to be critical.”
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who announced an ex-gratia of ₹10 lakh to the next of kin of each person killed and ₹2 lakh to the injured, will visit the accident site on Monday.
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- A special passenger train between Visakhapatnam and Palasa was on restricted speed on the main line between Alamanda and Kantakapalle due to no signal when it was hit from behind by a Vizag-Rayagada passenger train.
- DRM Saurabh Prasad told NDTV that the last three coaches of the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train and the engine and two coaches of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train derailed. A coach derailed and landed on one side of a goods train wagon.
- Vizianagaram Collector Nagalakshmi confirmed that the death toll rose to 14 from nine last night, and rescue efforts were expected to be completed by this morning. At least 40 were injured and are being treated in various hospitals.
- PRO Mr Vishwajeet Sahu told NDTV this morning that twenty-seven trains have been canceled so far and 22 have been diverted. He said the accident might have been caused by the mistake of the Vizag-Rayagada loco pilot, who died on the impact of the collision. Railway sources had earlier said that the loco pilot might not have paid attention to signaling.
- Pictures obtained from the spot yesterday evening show coaches derailed and a crowd of people. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said that except for the derailed and affected coaches, the rest were cleared by midnight.
- Chief Minister YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh for the families of those who died. Passengers with serious injuries will get Rs 2.5 lakh and those with minor injuries will get Rs 50,000.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reviewed the situation and expressed condolence over the loss of lives and property. He announced an additional assistance of Rs 2 lakh for the families of those killed in the accident and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
- The Railway Minister also spoke to Chief Minister Reddy, who expressed deep grief over the accident and ordered all arrangements to ensure treatment of the injured. Mr Reddy has also sought periodic updates on the incident.
- About five months ago, more than 280 passengers had died in a horrific accident involving three trains in Odisha. The Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train were involved in the accident near Bahnaga Bazar station on June 2.
- A railway source said the war room of the Delhi Railway Ministry is monitoring the situation. East Coast Railway has issued helpline numbers (Bhubaneswar – 0674-2301625, 2301525, 2303069, and Waltair – 0891-2885914).