Tragedy Strikes as Passenger Trains Collide in Andhra Pradesh: 14 Dead and 50 Injured
In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded near Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, 14 passengers lost their lives, and 50 others suffered injuries when two passenger trains collided. The accident occurred between the stations of Kantakapalli and Alamanda in Vizianagaram district, situated approximately 90 kilometers from Vishakhapatnam.
The horrifying incident, which took place on a fateful Sunday, was attributed to a reported overshooting of a red signal by one of the passenger trains. Train 08504, the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train, failed to heed the signal and subsequently collided with Train 08532, the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train.
The consequences of this unfortunate collision were devastating, with the condition of five injured individuals reported as critical. The injured were swiftly transported to the government general hospital in Vizianagaram and King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam to receive medical attention and care.
Efforts to address the tragedy were initiated promptly, with rescue and relief operations carried out by railway officials. Stranded passengers were evacuated by buses and other means of transportation. Eleven coaches from the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train were moved to Alamanda station, while nine coaches from the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train were taken back to the Kantakapalle station.
However, reports indicated that the delayed arrival of railway officials, ambulances, and relief trains to the accident site contributed to the loss of lives. It took nearly an hour for the necessary response teams to cover the 40-kilometer distance from Vishakhapatnam to the collision scene.
A Waltair division official described the situation, stating, “Bogies derailed after a train traveling along with passengers from Vizianagaram to Rayagada hit a passenger train traveling on the same route from Visakhapatnam to Palasa.” The East Coast Railway’s chief public relations officer also confirmed that two bogies from one train and the engine of the other had derailed, although other reports suggested five bogies had derailed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took immediate action upon learning of the tragedy. His office posted on Twitter: “PM Modi spoke to railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and took stock of the situation.” The Prime Minister expressed condolences to the bereaved families and extended prayers for the swift recovery of the injured. Authorities assured that all possible assistance would be provided to those affected.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy swiftly issued orders to initiate immediate relief measures. Ambulances were dispatched from Vishakhapatnam and nearby districts of Vizianagaram to the scene, and arrangements were made in nearby hospitals to ensure comprehensive medical care for the injured. The Chief Minister emphasized the importance of coordination between railway authorities and other government departments, including health, police, and revenue, to expedite relief measures and facilitate prompt medical services for the injured.
AP Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana personally visited the accident site and conferred with railway officials regarding the ongoing rescue operations. Regional coordinator Y.V. Subba Reddy and Vizag MP M.V.V. Satyanarayana also inquired into the incident to oversee the situation and provide support.
Dr. S. Appala Naidu, the in-charge superintendent of the Government General Hospital in Vizianagaram, provided updates on the medical response. Ambulances were dispatched to the accident site, with 20 injured individuals received at the hospital. Three of the injured were reported as being in serious condition. Dr. Naidu noted that while no bodies had been received at the hospital at that time, there were reports of passenger fatalities.
Biswajit Sahoo, the chief public relations officer of the East Coast Railway (ECoR), confirmed the dispatch of a special relief train from Rayagada. Rescue operations were underway, and a team led by divisional railway manager Saurabh Prasad of Waltair had rushed to the scene. The official further mentioned that accident relief trains and rescue and salvage equipment were deployed.
The East Coast Railway promptly established helplines to offer assistance. The local administration and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were informed and mobilized to contribute to the relief efforts.
Railway Minister Ashiwni Vaishnaw took to social media to share updates on the ongoing rescue operations. He confirmed that all passengers had been relocated, and both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh were closely monitoring the situation. The Prime Minister has declared an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the families of the deceased, and those who were injured will receive Rs 50,000 in assistance.
This tragic incident serves as a somber reminder of the importance of railway safety and prompt response in the face of unforeseen accidents. The coming days will undoubtedly be dedicated to further investigations and efforts to prevent such heart-wrenching events in the future.